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Full text of "American pictures and their painters"



AMERICAN PICTURES AND 
THEIR PAINTERS 



BY THE SAME AUTHOR 



WHAT PICTURES TO SEE IN 
AMERICA $ 3 .oonet 

PICTURES AND THEIR PAINT- 
ERS £j. 00 ne t 

WHAT PICTURES TO SEE IN 

EUROPE IN ONE SUMMER 

$1.35 net 

WHAT SCULPTURE TO SEE 

IN EUROPE $1.35 net 

FAMOUS PICTURES OF REAL 
BOYS AND GIRLS $i. 25 net 

In Preparation 

FAMOUS PICTURES OF REAL 
ANIMALS 



John Lane Company, Publishers, New York 




Ernesta. Beaux. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Frontispiece. 

(See page 204) 






AMERICAN PICTURES 
AND THEIR PAINTERS 



BY 
LORINDA MUNSON BRYANT 



m 



AUTHOR OF 

"What Pictures to See in America/ 

"What Pictures to See in Europe 

in One Summer," etc. 



ILL USTRA TIONS 




NEW YORK: JGM% ^£NE COMPANY 

LONDON: JOHN LANE, THE BODLEY HEAD 
TORONIO: S. B. GUNDY : : MCMXVII 



N 



MAA/NPG LIBRARY I 



MAR 29 199 



SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION 



^ -^ :■, ;^j—aBi(.iv» -m-,, .m 



Copyright, 19 1 7, by 
JOHN LANE COMPANY 




Press of J. J. Little & Ives Co., New York, U. S. A. 



TO MY LIFE-LONG FRIEND 
AMELIA TIGHT RALSTON 
WHOSE COMPREHENSIVE 
KNOWLEDGE OF ART IS MY 
CONSTANT INSPIRATION 



INTRODUCTION 

HP HE welcome accorded What Pictures 
■*■ To SEE in America and the desire to 
know more of our own artists that the book 
has aroused are the real incentives for bring- 
ing out American Pictures and Their 
Painters. 

Our people never were more keenly alive to 
the value of our native art ; all over the country 
public galleries, dealers and private owners are 
giving more and more prominence to their 
American paintings and on all sides there is 
an awakened interest in American art. To be 
ignorant of our leading artists is not to be fully 
abreast of the times. Then, too, no correct 
valuation of our native work can be gained 
without reckoning with the general public, 
for the public is the final court of appeal. 
American Pictures and Their Painters 
is designed to provide a working basis for the 
appreciation of American art. To accomplish 
this I have attempted especially to trace the 
careers of the leaders in their respective 



INTRODUCTION 

eras — artists who even now are modern old 
masters. It is high time that we as a nation 
should realize that many of our American 
painters are not only standing shoulder to 
shoulder with the geniuses of Europe and Asia, 
but are to-day the world's leaders in art. Nat- 
urally it is too early as yet to judge the younger 
artists correctly, consequently only a limited 
number are here represented; those are in- 
cluded who indicate the trend of thought in art 
to-day. If only our people will take an intelli- 
gent interest in the work of our modern Ameri- 
can artists, we shall have fewer sins of omis- 
sion in recognizing real worth and shall gain 
much credit in discovering and encouraging 
latent talent. 

I take this occasion to extend my thanks to 
the museums, galleries and dealers and to sev- 
eral of the artists themselves who have assisted 
me with data, pictures and advice, and es- 
pecially do I acknowledge the kind courtesy of 
the Detroit Publishing Company, who have 
made it possible for me to use the photographs 
of many paintings of which they own the copy- 
right. 

LORINDA MUNSON BRYANT. 
New York City. 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I. West, Copley, Peal, Trumbull . . 21 

II. Stuart, Sully 30 

III. Cole, Church, Doughty, Leutze, 

Hunt, Bierstadt, Hill, Moran . 33 

IV. Inness 48 

V. Keith, Martin, Wyant, Bunce . 56 

VI. Homer 64 

VII. Fuller, Johnson, Vedder, Coleman 71 

VIII. La Farge, Ryder 79 

IX. Whistler . 88 

X. Hovenden, Mosler, Millet, Duve- 

neck, Thayer 99 

XI. Robinson, Harrison, Brush, Mel- 

chers, Marr, Tanner .... 105 

XII. Beckwith, Chase, Cox .... 113 

XIII. Blakelock, Tryon, Murphy, Wig- 

gins, Dewey 121 

XIV. Inness, Jr., Walker, Foster, Carl- 

sen, Van Lear, Lathrop, Dain- 

gerpield, Crane 132 

XV. Davis, Ranger 139 

XVI. Abbey, Blashfield, Volk . . . 150 

XVII. Sargent 157 

XVIII. Alexander, Blum 164 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

XIX. H assam, Weir, Dewing, DeCamp . 171 
xx. twachtman, benson, tarbell, reid, 

Metcalf, Simmons 181 

XXI. Symons, Redfield, Ochtman, Scho- 
field, Harrison, Rosen, Carlson, 

Ryder 188 

XXII. Beaux, Hawthorne, Cassatt . . 203 

XXIII. Groll, Williams, Genth, Lie, Kroll 213 

XXIV. Davies, Bohm, Frieseke, Miller, 

MacCameron, Mora .... 220 
XXV. Bellows, Luks, Nourse, Beal, Mc- 
Lean 228 

XXVI. Spencer, Hopkins, Dessar, Garber, 

Speicher, Brown 234 

XXVII. Snell, Lever, Yates, Waugh, 

Dougherty, Koopman .... 242 
XXVIII. Leigh, Couse, Burroughs, Parrish 250 
XXIX. Wiles, Dearth, Turner, Henri, 

Walter, Seyffert, Norton . . 260 
XXX. Pearson, Tack, Bittinger, Boronda, 

Peterson, Bernstein .... 270 
XXXI. Sloan, Congdon, Fry, Eyre, Rou- 

land, Davey 280 

XXXII. Marin, Benton, Zorach, Ray, 

Wright, Russell 292 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



Ernesta. Beaux. Metropolitan Museum of Art .... (Frontispiece) 

FIG. FACING PAGE 

I. — Death on the White Horse. West. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine 

Arts, Philadelphia 22 

2. — Saint Peter Denying Christ. West. Hampton Court, England . 23 

3. — Portrait of John Bourse. Copley. Worcester Art Museum . . 23 

4. — Portrait of Washington. Peale. Metropolitan Museum of Art . 28 

5. — Portrait of Alexander Hamilton. Trumbull. Metropolitan Museum 

of Art 28 

6. — Portrait of Washington. Stuart. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston . 30 

7. — Portrait of General Dearborn. Stuart. The Art Institute, Chicago 30 

8. — Portrait of Miss Beach. Stuart. Public Library, Fort Worth, Texas 32 

9. — Portrait of Mrs. Morton. Stuart. Worcester Art Museum . . 33 

10. — Portrait of Henry Nichols. Stuart. Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh 36 

11. — Portrait of Fanny Kemble. Sully. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine 

Arts 36 

12. — In the Catskills. Cole. Metropolitan Museum of Art ... 39 

13. — Niagara Falls. Church. Corcoran Art Gallery, Washington, D. C. 42 

14. — On the Hudson. Doughty. Metropolitan Museum of Art . . 42 

15. — Washington Crossing the Delaware. Leutze. Metropolitan Mu- 
seum of Art 42 

16. — The Bathers. Hunt. Worcester Art Museum 43 

17. — The Yosemite Valley. Hill. Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento . 46 

18. — Sunset in the Woods. Inness. Corcoran Art Gallery, Washington, 

D. C 48 

19. — The Coming Storm. Inness. Carnegie Public Library, Fort Worth, 

Texas 48 

20. — The Approaching Storm. Inness. The City Art Museum, St. Louis 50 

21. — Peace and Plenty. Inness. Metropolitan Museum of Art ... 50 

22. — The Delaware Valley. Inness. Metropolitan Museum of Art . 50 

23. — Early Morning. Inness. The Art Institute, Chicago .... 51 

24. — Home of the Heron. Inness. The Art Institute, Chicago ... 54 

25. — Sunset in Georgia. Inness. Layton Art Gallery, Milwaukee . . 54 

26. — The Coming Storm. Keith. The Art Institute, Chicago ... 58 

27. — Summit of the Sierras. Keith. The Institute of Art, San Francisco 58 

28. — The Mountain Top. Keith. The Institute of Art, San Francisco . 59 

29. — The Harp of the Winds. Martin. Metropolitan Museum of Art . 59 

30. — Forenoon in the Adirondacks. Wyant. Metropolitan Museum of 

Art 62 

31.— Morning in Venice. Bunce. The Macbeth Gallery, New York City 62 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



FIG. FACING PAGE 

32. — Fog Warning. Homer. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston .... 64 

33- — Hark, the Lark! Homer. Lay ton Art Gallery, Milwaukee . . 64 

34- — The Unruly Calf. Homer. Institute of Arts and Sciences, Brooklyn 65 

35. — Northeaster. Homer. Metropolitan Museum of Art .... 66 

36. — The Gale. Homer. Worcester Art Museum 67 

37. — The Wreck. Homer. The Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh ... 68 

38. — Sunlight on the Beach. Homer. The Museum of Art, Toledo . . 68 

39. — The Coming Storm. Homer. Lotos Club, New York City . . 69 

40.— The Fuller Boy. Fuller. The City Art Museum, St. Louis . . 76 

41. — The Old Kentucky Home. Johnson. The Public Library, New 

York City 77 

42. — The Sphinx. Vedder. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston .... 77 

43. — The Oil Wells. Coleman 78 

44. — Adoration. La Farge. The Institute of Arts and Sciences, Brooklyn 80 

45. — The Wolf Charmer. La Farge. The City Art Museum, St. Louis 81 

46. — The Halt of the Wise Men. La Farge. The Museum of Fine Arts, 

Boston 84 

47. — The Waste of Waters. Ryder. The Institute of Arts and Sciences, 

Brooklyn 84 

48.— In the Stable. Ryder. Macbeth Gallery, New York City ... 85 

49. — Portrait of Whistler.. Boldini. The Institute of Arts and Sciences, 

Brooklyn 90 

50. — My Mother. Whistler. The Luxembourg, Paris 91 

SI. — At the Piano. Whistler ^ T . . . . 92 

52. — The Blacksmith. Whistler. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston . 93 
53. — Study in Rose and Brown. Whistler. The Gallery of Fine Arts, 

Muskegon 94 

54. — Portrait of Sarasate. Whistler. The Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh 95 

55. — In the Studio. Whistler. The Art Institute, Chicago .... 96 

56. — Lady with the Yellow Buskin. Whistler. Wilstach Gallery, Phila- 
delphia 96 

57. — Connie Gilchrist. Whistler. Metropolitan Museum of Art . . 97 

58. — Portrait of Whistler. Way 98 

59. — Breaking Home Ties. Hovenden. The Macmillan Company, New 

York City 100 

60. — The Prodigal's Return. Mosler. Luxembourg, Paris . . . . 101 

61. — The Cosy Corner. Millet. Metropolitan Museum of Art . . . IOI 

62. — The Whistling Boy. Duveneck. Cincinnati Museum .... 102 

63. — The Flower Girl. Duveneck. Cincinnati Museum 102 

64. — Portrait of a Young Woman. Thayer. Metropolitan Museum of 

Art 103 

65. — In the Sun. Robinson 106 

66. — Castles in Spain. Harrison. Metropolitan Museum of Art . . 107 

67. — Mrs. Brush Reading to Her Children. Brush 108 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



FIG. FACING PAGE 

68. — The Communion. Melchers « 109 

69. — The Fencing Master. Melchers. The Museum of Art, Detroit, no 

70. — Marriage. Melchers. The Institute of Arts, Minneapolis. . . no 

71. — Silent Devotion. Marr. Lay ton Art Gallery, Milwaukee . . . in 

72. — The Wandering Jew. Marr. Metropolitan Museum of Art . . 112 
73. — The Two Disciples at the Tomb. Tanner. The Art Institute, 

Chicago 112 

74. — Portrait of William M. Chase. Beckwith. John Herron Institute, 

Indianapolis 114 

75. — Alice. Chase. The Art Institute, Chicago 114 

76. — Dorothy. Chase. John Herron Institute, Indianapolis . . . 114 

77. — Dorothy and Her Sister. Chase. Luxembourg, Paris 115 

78. — Lady with White Shawl. Chase. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine 

Arts 11S 

79. — In the Studio. Chase. Institute of Arts and Sciences, Brooklyn 116 

80. — Fish. Chase. Metropolitan Museum of Art 117 

81. — Portrait of Chase. Chase. The Detroit Museum of Art . . . 118 

82. — Portrait of St. Gaudens and Chase. Cox. Metropolitan Museum 

of Art 119 

83. — The Brook by Moonlight. Blakelock. The Museum of Art, Toledo 122 

84. — Ecstasy. Blakelock. Gallery of Fine Arts, Muskegon . . . 123 

85. — Before Sunrise in June. Tryon. The Museum of Art, Detroit . 124 

86. — November. Tryon. John Herron Art Institute, Indianapolis . 125 

87. — Autumn Sunset. Tryon. The Worcester Art Museum . . . 126 

88. — Spring Morning. Tryon. The Museum of Art, Toledo . . . 127 

' 89. — At Sunset. Murphy. The City Art Museum, St. Louis . . . 127 

90. — Woodland Boundary. Murphy. The Museum of Fine Arts,- Syra- 
cuse 128 

91. — Summer. Wiggins. Macbeth Gallery, New York City . . . 128 

92. — October Evening. Dewey. Macbeth Gallery, New York City . 129 

93- — Bringing Home the Cows. Inness, Jr. The Memorial Art Gallery, 

Rochester „ 132 

94. — Wood Sawyers. Walker. The City Art Museum, St. Louis . . 132 

95. — Summer Day. Foster. Macbeth Gallery, New York City . . 133 

96. — Woods Interior. Carlsen. Macbeth Gallery, New York City . 134 

97- — Autumn. Van Lear. Macbeth Gallery, New York City . . . 135 

98. — The Meadows. Lathrop. Metropolitan Museum of Art . . . 13s 

99- — Slumbering Fog. Daingerfield. Metropolitan Museum of Art . 138 

100. — Autumn Uplands. Crane. Metropolitan Museum of Art . . 139 

101. — Clouds. Davis. The Museum of Fine Arts, Syracuse . . . 140 

102. — Evening. Davis. Metropolitan Museum of Art 141 

103. — Time of the Red-Winged Blackbird. Davis. Museum of Fine 

Arts, Syracuse 142 

104. — On the West Winds. Davis. Macbeth Gallery, New York City 142 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



FIG. FACING PAGE 

105. — North West Wind. Davis. The Art Institute, Chicago . . . 143 

106. — Early Summer. Davis. The Institute of Arts, Minneapolis . . 144 

107. — Long Pond. Ranger. Museum of Fine Arts, Syracuse . . . 14s 

108. — Group of Sturdy Oaks. Ranger. The Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo 145 

109. — Landscape. Ranger. The Museum of Art, Toledo .... 148 

no. — Uses of Wealth. Blashfield. Banking House, Cleveland . . . 152 

in. — The Penance of Eleanor. Abbey. The Carnegie Institute, Pitts- 
burgh 152 

112. — Scene from King Lear. Abbey. Metropolitan Museum of Art . 153 

113. — Portrait of Felix Adler. Volk. Metropolitan Museum of Art . 156 

114. — The Misses Boit. Sargent. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston . 158 

115. — Carmencita. Sargent. Luxembourg, Paris 158 

116. — Portrait of James Whitcomb Riley. Sargent. John Herron Insti- 
tute, Indianapolis 159 

117. — Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth. Sargent. Tate Gallery, London 160 

118. — Carnation Lily, Lily Rose. Sargent. Albert Memorial Museum, 

London 161 

119. — Tyrolese Interior. Sargent. Metropolitan Museum of Art . . 162 
120. — Isabella and the Pot of Basil. Alexander. The Museum of Fine 

Arts, Boston 164 

121. — The Ring. Alexander. Metropolitan Museum of Art . . . 165 

122. — Portrait of Walt Whitman. Alexander. Metropolitan Museum of 

Art . . . '. 165 

123. — Portrait of Auguste Rodin. Alexander. The Cincinnati Museum 168 

124. — Portrait of Robert Blum. Alexander. The Cincinnati Museum . 168 

125. — Venetian Lace Makers. Blum. The Cincinnati Museum . . 169 

126. — The New York Window. Hassam. The Corcoran Gallery of Art 172 

127. — Spring Morning. Hassam. The Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh 173 

128. — The Church of Old Lyme. Hassam. The Albright Art Gallery, 

Buffalo 173 

129. — The Caulker. Hassam. The Cincinnati Museum . . . . . 174 

130. — The Portrait. Weir. The Museum of Fine Arts, Syracuse . . 174 

131. — The Red Bridge. Weir. Metropolitan Museum of Art . . . 175 

132. — Writing a Letter. Dewing. The Museum of Art, Toledo. . . 176 

133. — The Lady with a Macaw. Dewing. The Albright Art Gallery, 

Buffalo 177 

134. — The Silver Waist. De Camp 177 

135. — Niagara in Winter. Twachtman. Macbeth Gallery, New York 

City 182 

136. — The Waterfall. Twachtman. Metropolitan Museum of Art . . 183 
137. — Sunshine and Shadow. Benson. Macbeth Gallery, New York 

City 184 

138. — Portrait of a Boy. Benson. The Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh 18s 

139. — Woman in Pink and Green. Tarbell. The Cincinnati Museum . 18s 

140. — The Miniature. Reid. The Museum of Art, Detroit .... 186 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



FIG. FACING PAGE 

141. — Midsummer. Metcalf. Macbeth Gallery, New York City . . 187 
142. — Sunlight in the Woods. Symons. Carnegie Public Library, Fort 

Worth, Texas 188 

143. — River in Winter. Symons. The Institute of Art, Minneapolis . 189 

144. — The Crest. Redfield. John Herron Institute, Indianapolis . . 192 

145. — Laurel Brook. Redfield. Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo . . . 193 

146. — The Delaware River. Redfield. Corcoran Gallery of Art . . 193 

147. — Sycamore Hill. Redfield. The Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh . 194 

148. — December. Ochtman. Carnegie Public Library, Fort Worth, 

Texas 194 

149. — A January Day. Schofield. The Cincinnati Museum . . . 195 

ISO. — Old Mills of the Somme. Schofield. John Herron Art Institute, 

Indianapolis 196 

151. — Woodstock Meadows. Harrison. The Museum of Art, Toledo . 197 

152. — Frozen River. Rosen. Delgado Museum of Art, New Orleans . 197 

153. — The Brook in Autumn. Rosen 198 

154- — Woodland Brook. Carlson. Macbeth Gallery, New York City . 199 

ISS. — Pack Monadnock. Ryder 200 

156. — The Dancing Lesson. Beaux. Private Collection 204 

157. — A New England Woman. Beaux. Pennsylvania Academy of Fine 

Arts 205 

158. — Mother and Child. Hawthorne. Museum of Fine Arts, Syracuse 205 

159. — The Trousseau. Hawthorne. Metropolitan Museum of Art . . 206 

160. — Mother and Child. Cassatt 207 

161. — Morning Bath. Cassatt. Metropolitan Museum of Art . . . 208 

162. — Silver Clouds. Groll. Macbeth Gallery, New York City . . 214 

163. — Summer. Williams. Macbeth Gallery, New York City . . . 214 

164. — Woodland Pool. Genth. The Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester . 215 

165. — Morning on the River. Lie. The Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester 216 

166. — The Conquerors. Lie. Metropolitan Museum of Art . . . . 217 

167. — Building New York. Kroll 218 

168.— The River Front. Kroll 219 

169. — A Dream. Davies. Metropolitan Museum of Art .... 220 

170. — Mother and Child. Bohm. Macbeth Gallery, New York City . 221 

171. — Summer. Frieseke 222 

172. — The Hammock. Frieseke 223 

173. — Morning Sunlight. Miller. Macbeth Gallery, New York City . 224 

174. — Gold Fish. Miller 225 

175. — New Orleans Negro. MacCameron. The Memorial Art Gallery, 

Rochester 225 

176. — Flowers of the Fields. Mora. Macbeth Gallery, New York City . 226 

177- — Anne. Bellows. The Carnegie Institute, Chicago 228 

178. — Evening. Luks 229 

179. — Anne and Dora. Luks 230 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

FIG. FACING PAGE 

180. — Consolation. Nourse 2 230 

181. — Picnic. Beal 231 

182. — Autumn in the City. Beal 232 

183. — Girl in Green. McLean. The Museum of Fine Arts, Syracuse . 233 

184. — On the Canal, New Hope. Spencer. The Detroit Museum of Art 236 

185. — Repairing the Bridge. Spencer. Metropolitan Museum of Art . 236 

186. — Mountain Lovers. Hopkins 237 

187. — The Wood Cart. Dessar. Metropolitan Museum of Art . . . 238 

188. — Flowers in Jersey. Garber. Macbeth Gallery, New York City . 238 

189. — Morning Light in Spring. Speicher. Metropolitan Museum of Art 239 

190. — Poplars. Roy Brown 239 

191. — Backwater. Snell 242 

192. — Boats at Gloucester. Lever 243 

193. — Rock Bound Coast. Yates 244 

194. — Sea and Rocks. Waugh 245 

195. — The Clan of the Munes. Waugh. Charles Scribner's Sons, New 

York City 246 

196. — Manana Point. Dougherty. Carnegie Public Library, Fort Worth, 

Texas 247 

197. — On the Rocks after a Storm. Koopman. Delgado Museum of 

Art, New Orleans 247 

198. — The Land of His Fathers. Leigh. Snedecor Gallery, New York 

City , 250 

199. — A Vision of the Past. Couse 251 

200. — The Young Men and Horses. Burroughs 256 

201. — The Funeral of Adonis. Burroughs 256 

202. — Three Panels. Parrish. Curtis Publishing Company, Philadel- 
phia 257 

203. — Portrait of His Father. Wiles. Metropolitan Museum of Art . 260 

204. — Cordelia. Dearth. Metropolitan Museum of Art 261 

205. — A Lady with a Parasol. Turner 264 

206. — Spanish Gipsy Girl. Henri. Delgado Museum of Art, New Orleans 265 

207. — Catherine. Henri 266 

208. — English Nurse. Walter . 267 

209. — Dutch Woman. Seyffert 268 

210. — Study in Black and Gold (Lorinda Munson Bryant). Norton . 269 

ail. — By the River. Pearson 272 

212.— A Sea of Hills. Tack 273 

213. — Madame du Barry. Bittinger 274 

214. — The Fandango. Boronda 275 

215. — A Busy Street. Peterson ; 278 

216. — The Opera Lobby. Bernstein 279 

217. — Portrait Drawing of Paul de Kock. Sloan. Metropolitan Museum 

of Art 282 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



FIG. FACING PAGE 

2 1 8. — Factories on the Thames. Congdon 282 

219.— A Dryad. Fry 283 

220. — The Eternal Drift. Fry 284 

221. — The Upper Box. Eyre 285 

222. — Guided by the Stars. Rouland 28s 

223. — An Old Sea Captain. Davey. Corcoran Art Gallery, Washington, 

D. C 290 

224. — Marin's Island (Maine). Marin 294 

225. — Figure Organization. Benton 29s 

226. — Spring. Zorach 298 

227. — Dance Interpretation. Ray 299 

228. — Adolescence. Macdonald-Wright 302 

229. — Cosmic Synchromy. Russell 303 



AMERICAN PICTURES AND 
THEIR PAINTERS 



AMERICAN PICTURES AND 
THEIR PAINTERS 

CHAPTER I 

WEST— COPLEY— PEALE— TRUMBULL 

AMERICA, the inheritor of the ages! 
** That certainly sounds promising, but, we 
may ask, has the inheritance proved wholly a 
blessing? The cry has been going up for a 
hundred years and more that in our art we 
are only imitators of the past. This cry has 
not been without some truth ; but why, we ask, 
expect from American painters in so short a 
time what it has taken older countries cen- 
turies to accomplish? 

The wonderful scenery of the new country 
and the picturesque Indian no doubt impressed 
the artists among the Pilgrim Fathers, if there 
were any, but both the scenery and the In- 
dian must have lost much of their picture- 
making quality in the struggle for existence 
of those early days. Then, too, had the trained 

21 



12 AMERICAN PICTURES 

artist painted genre pictures of the Indian in 
his, unique costume and unusual surroundings 
and sent them back to the old home, I suspect 
the European art world would have tapped its 
forehead with much the same significance that 
the inn keeper did at the tales of the returned 
hunter who first discovered Yellowstone Park. 

Again, is it not possible that our art inherit- 
ance was one of the real obstacles to be over- 
come before our native American artist could 
respond to the wonderful surroundings of nat- 
ural scenery and native inhabitants ? The very 
bigness of the country and the unusualness of 
all that pertained to life ill fitted the traditions 
of the eighteenth century art work of Europe. 

Not until 1738, when Benjamin West opened 
his eyes in the new world, did American paint- 
ing have its birth. Immediately there comes 
to mind a mental picture of the little Benjamin 
sitting by the cradle painting a picture of his 
baby sister with a brush made from pussy's 
tail. The stories of the early achievements 
of the boy are as much, a part of his identity 
as that he was born in America, so it matters 
little whether he was an infant prodigy or not. 

Even if he were not a great artist, we are 
rather proud of the business ability that made 
him a necessary adviser to King George III, 
and resulted in his being the real instigator in 




Fig. 2 — Saint Peter Denying Christ. West. 
Hampton Court, England. 




Fig. 3 — Portrait of John Bourse. Copley. Courtesy 
of the Worcester (Mass.) Art Museum. 



ANB THEIR PAINTERS 23 

founding the Royal Academy, London, Eng- 
land in 1767. 

The usual jealousies were undermining the 
art societies of London when the king took 
matters in his own hands — under the direction 
of West, however — and secretly planned his 
own art academy. He added the last straw 
to the expiring societies by answering person- 
ally the request of the president that West's 
"Regulus" be sent to one of the exhibitions. 
"No," said the king, "it must go to my exhibi- 
tion — the Royal Academy." The king invited 
West to be the first president but West felt 
that the honour belonged to an Englishman, 
and persuaded Reynolds, who had nothing to 
do with the preliminaries, to accept the honour. 

West at the death of Sir Joshua in 1792 be- 
came the second president. The king at this 
time wished to confer the honour of knight- 
hood upon him, a precedent established with 
Reynolds, but West, possibly hoping for a 
"baronetcy and a pension," gracefully refused 
and with a note of pride, said, "I think I have 
earned greater eminence with my pencil than 
knighthood could confer on me." Although he 
retained the royal favour of King George III, 
he never again was given the opportunity of 
refusing knighthood nor was he offered a high- 
er honour. West is the only president of the 



24 AMERICAN PICTURES 

Royal Academy, in its life of one hundred 
and fifty years, who did not become a "sir" 
upon accepting the presidency. Throughout 
the reign of King George III West continued 
in favour with the court, but upon the acces- 
sion of King George IV the court patronage 
ceased. 

West spent his boyhood days in Philadel- 
phia, where the Indian in his untrammelled life 
appealed to his artistic nature, and gave him 
just the material for picture-making, which 
material he used when he painted "The Death 
of General Wolfe." His audacity in stepping 
out of the beaten path of art tenets and cloth- 
ing his characters in the costumes of the peo- 
ple, the country, and the time brought him 
enthusiastic applause from the people in spite 
of the disapproval at first of so eminent an art- 
ist as Sir Joshua Reynolds. Sir Joshua, after 
careful examination, said, "West has con- 
quered; he has treated his subject as it ought 
to be treated; I retract my objections. I fore- 
see that this picture will not only become one 
of the most popular but will occasion a revo- 
lution in art." West went to Italy when quite 
young; after a short sojourn in that country 
he started for home, stopping in England for a 
business call. The call extended over the rest 
of his life, and gave him a final resting place 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 25 

in the crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral, London 
(1820). ' 

Besides a series of large canvases on Eng- 
lish history made by request of the king, West 
began a series of religious pictures. One of 
the most noted of these is "Death on the Pale 
Horse" (Fig. 1), in the Pennsylvania Acad- 
emy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia. It is painted 
in the grand style he assumed in his large com- 
positions, possibly thinking to follow in the 
footsteps of Michael Angelo. He has taken 
his theme from Rev. 6:8, "And I looked, and 
behold a pale horse : and his name that sat on 
him was Death, and Hell followed with him. 
And power was given unto them over the 
fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, 
and with hunger, and with death, and with the 
beasts of the earth." In looking at the paint- 
ing we find that West has literally followed 
the words of St. John. While the few simple 
words of the evangelist leave a clear picture 
of horror in our minds, this painted picture of 
West's is so full of confusing details that the 
significance of the scene is lost in the chaos 
of figures. What a masterpiece this would 
have been if Michael Angelo had conceived it ! 

In some of his smaller canvases, however, 
West has given a touch of reality akin to his 
own personal charm and Quaker directness. 



26 AMERICAN PICTURES 

This is specially true of "St. Peter Denying 
Christ" (Fig. 2), Hampton Court, England. 
The apostle's earnest, deprecating manner, 
combining both devotion and cowardliness, has 
a human element that speaks to the heart. 
West's artistic ambition was greater than his 
skill with brush and paint. The reddish-brown 
colour comes from painting on red grained 
canvas — a legacy from the Italian Eclectics, 
and unfortunately emphasises the impetuous 
efforts of one ill at ease with his tools. 

While Benjamin West was practically an 
English painter, except by accident of birth, his 
friend and contemporary, John Singleton Cop- 
ley (173 7- 1 8 15), was a true American. Cop- 
ley probably had his early training from his 
stepfather, though his son, Lord Lindhurst, 
states that his father, Copley, "was entirely 
self-taught and never saw a decent picture, 
with the exception of his own until he was 
nearly thirty." Among the pictures Copley 
painted, probably before he left America, was 
the "Portrait of John Bours" (Fig. 3), now in 
the Worcester (Mass.) Art Museum. This 
young clergyman of Newport (1737-1815) 
and Copley were nearly the same age and, from 
the intimate character of the picture, there can 
be little doubt that a warm friendship bound 
them together. Seldom did Copley give so 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 27 

sympathetic an understanding of the personal 
element as in the likeness of this gentleman. 
That it is a likeness, who can doubt? The 
splendid physique and air of good fellowship 
mark the man as a strong, helpful friend. 

While Copley was still living in Boston — 
probably in 1766 — he sent a painting, "Boy 
with a Flying Squirrel," to his countryman, 
West, in London, England. The painting ar- 
rived unsigned and without the accompanying 
letter, but West, recognising the American 
habitat of both the pine wood of the stretcher 
and the flying squirrel, suspected it was from 
his friend Copley. He enthusiastically pro- 
nounced the colouring to be worthy of Titian. 
Through West's influence the picture was hung 
in the exhibition of the Society of Incorpor- 
ated artists — though anonymous works were 
usually prohibited — and at once Copley's repu- 
tation was established in England. 

It was nearly ten years later before Copley 
visited the great galleries of Europe and finally 
settled in London. Here, under the influence 
of Reynolds and Gainsborough, he gained tech- 
nical skill in his art, but his portraits of the 
royal family and English nobility have not 
brought him the lasting fame of the pictures 
he painted before leaving America. "The 
long; series of portraits of our colonial digni- 



28 AMERICAN PICTURES 

taries, divines, judges and merchants" and tHe 
strong, self-reliant women of that day mark 
him as a veritable "American Van Dyck." 
Those portraits give us a better understanding 
of the type of manhood and womanhood that 
laid the foundation of our Republic than any 
historians have given us in words. 

It is to Charles Wilson Peak's (1741-1827) 
credit that after studying under West four 
years in London, he came home to practise 
his art. He had the good fortune to have 
Washington sit for him fourteen times. His 
portraits were the first ever painted of our first- 
president, and what a pity that they lack that 
element of sympathetic good-fellowship that 
an artist with a delicate understanding reveals 
of his sitters. His "Portrait of Washington" 
(Fig. 4), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New 
York City, is no doubt a good likeness, but 
with no soul. It seems strange that Peak could 
not have given a warm, personal picture of 
Washington. It is said that he made a minia- 
ture of General Washington while in camp "in 
a room so small and poorly lighted that Peak, 
who stood by the window, was forced to ask 
the distinguished model to sit on the bed." 

When John Trumbull (1756-1843) was paid 
$32,000 for four pictures of American histori- 
cal events, to fill compartments in the Rotunda 




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AND THEIR PAINTERS 29 

of the Capitol at Washington, he probably re- 
ceived more than they would bring to-day, if 
their value depended upon their artistic merit. 
As a recorder of American history Trumbull 
deserves some consideration, but as an artist 
little can be said in his favour. His active serv- 
ice in the Revolutionary War brought him in 
contact with the leading men of the times, so 
that he never lacked for sitters of renown. 

To have the honour of making a "Portrait 
of Alexander Hamilton" (Fig. 5), Metropoli- 
tan Museum of Art, was sufficient of itself to 
claim recognition for the artist. Hamilton's 
distinguished bearing was just the quality that 
appealed to Trumbull, who believed in the dig- 
nity of art; then Hamilton's habitually cheer- 
ful, bright face overcame, in a measure, the 
hard, formal brush of the artist, and his deli- 
cate skin and rosy cheeks compelled Trumbull 
to use agreeable colours. 



CHAPTER II 
STUART— SULLY 

^^"O truly American household has been 
"*■ complete for more than a hundred years 
without a copy of Gilbert Stuart's ( i 755-1828) 
"Athenaeum Portrait of Washington" (Fig. 6), 
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Though other 
cities claim Stuart originals of Washington, 
the artist himself says, in a note at the foot 
of a letter from the President, preserved by 
his daughter : "In looking over my papers to 
find one that had a signature of George Wash- 
ington, I found this, asking me when he would 
sit for his portrait, which is now owned by 
Samuel Williams (the Marquis of Lansdowne) 
of London. I have thought it proper that it 
should be his, especially as he owns the only 
original painting I ever made of Washington, 
except one I own myself. I painted a third, 
but rubbed it out. Signed, Gt. Stuart/' 

Of course Stuart made many replicas of the 
Athenaeum head, but Washington sat only 
three times to the great artist. The portrait 

30 




Fig. 6 — Portrait of Washington. Stuart. 
Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, 
Boston. 




Fig. 7 — Portrait of General Dearborn. Stuart. Courtesy 
of the Art Institute, Chicago. 



AMERICAN PICTURES 31 

Stuart owned was sold by the artist's widow 
to the Washington Association and, in 1831, 
was presented to the Boston Athenaeum, hence 
the name; it is simply loaned to the Museum. 

The Washington portrait for Samuel Wil- 
liams, referred to in Stuart's letter, was sent 
to England and is known as the Lansdowne 
Washington. It is a full-length figure, though 
Washington sat for the head only. 

The peculiar expression around Washing- 
ton's mouth is probably due to his false teeth, 
or rather bars. In a letter to his dentist of 
October 12, 1798, he writes: "I find that it is 
the bar alone, both above and below, that gives 
the lips the pouting and swelling appearance 
— of consequence, if this can be remedied all 
will be well. . . . George Washington." This 
letter was written a year before the president's 
death and after Stuart painted his portraits. 
Stuart himself said, in reference to the Athen- 
aeum head : "When I painted him, he had just 
had a set of false teeth inserted, which accounts 
for the constrained expression so noticeable 
about the mouth and lower part of the face." 
He probably meant the bars. 

In writing of Gilbert Stuart we are dealing 
with a man who was as strong in artistic origi- 
nality as the great painters of Europe. As a 
portrait painter he had no superior. His 



32 AMERICAN PICTURES 

philosophic mind and keen insight into the mo- 
tives of men revealed to him traits of char- 
acter in his sitter that enabled him to paint not 
only a man's reputation but his real self. 

No portrait is a finer example of Stuart's 
best work than that of "General Dearborn" 
(Fig. 7) in the Art Institute, Chicago. George 
C. Mason, describing the painting of General 
Dearborn, in his biography of Gilbert Stuart, 
says: "The mouth, painted as only an artist 
of the highest order could paint it, with a 
faint smile lurking around the corners, gives 
the idea that the figure is about to speak in 
reply to some remark that has been made." 
Stuart painted on mahogany panels prepared 
under his special direction. The surface of 
the panel was made to look like canvas by 
passing the plane over the whole face, then 
across the surface at right angles. The ar- 
rangement of his palette was simplicity itself, 
yet his wonderful skill in laying in colours has 
left his pictures nearly as fresh to-day as a 
century ago. Benjamin West would say to his 
pupils : "It is no use to steal Stuart's colours ; 
if you want to paint as he does, you must steal 
his eyes." 

The "Portrait of Miss Clementina Beach" 
(Fig. 8), Fort Worth, Texas, is unique in be- 
ing that of a lady who was a pupil of Stuart, 




Fig. 8 — Portrait of Miss Beach. Stuart. Courtesy of the Public Library, 
Fort Worth, Texas. 




Fig. 9 — Portrait of Mrs. Perez Morton. Stuart. Courtesy of the Worcester 
(Mass.) Art Museum. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 33 

Miss Beach was one of those splendid women 
who helped mould the young women of our 
Republic. She was born in Bristol, Eng- 
land, and came to America about 1800, when 
scarcely twenty-five years old. In conjunction 
with Mrs. Saunders, she opened a school for 
young women in Dorchester, Mass. She was 
also ambitious to know something of portrait 
painting, so between the years 1810 and 181 5 
she sat to Gilbert Stuart for this portrait, and 
afterwards copied the picture, making it a 
standard for her own work. 

That Stuart understood the mental attitude 
of one seeking high ideals is readily seen in 
the clear eyes looking at us so searchingly. He 
has made us feel that here is a woman with a 
real message, and that she has the magnetism 
that holds listeners, and the honest purpose 
that wins allegiance to the truth. 

That this "Portrait of Mrs. Perez Morton" 
(Fig. 9), Worcester (Mass.) Art Museum, 
and the Athenaeum Washington were never 
finished is not surprising, for one of the criti- 
cisms often made of Stuart was his careless 
painting of accessories, to which the artist 
would repiy, "I copy the works of God, and 
leave the clothes to the tailor and mantua- 
makers." 

Stuart painted two portraits, possibly three, 



34 AMERICAN PICTURES 

of Mrs. Morton, but she sat for only the first 
one. The finished portrait possibly is still in 
possession of the Clinch family, East Boston — 
Mrs. Clinch was a granddaughter of Mrs. 
Morton. The latter in appreciation wrote the 
following lines to the artist : 

"Stuart, thy portrait speaks with skill divine : 

Go on — and may reward thy cares attend, 
The friend of genius must remain thy friend; 

Genius is Sorrow's child, to Want allied, 
Consol'd by Glory and sustained by Pride; 
Unknown — unfelt — unshelter'd — uncaress'd — 
In walks of life where worldly passions rest." 

Stuart was quick to respond : 

"Who would not glory in the wreath of praise, 
Which M — n offers in her polished lays? 
I feel their cheering influence at my heart, 
And more complacent I review my art; 
Yet, ah, with Poesy, that gift divine, 
Compar'd, how poor, how impotent is mine ! 

No more my adverse fortune I lament: 
Enough for me that she extends the meed, 
Whose approbation is applause indeed." 

Mrs. Morton was called the American 
Sappho. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 35 

When Stuart painted the "Portrait of Henry 
Nichols" (Fig. 10), Carnegie Institute, Pitts- 
burgh, he put on record the likeness of one of 
the pioneers of the eastern shores of Mary- 
land — the Nichols family came to America at 
the time of Lord Baltimore. Henry Nichols 
was a man of refinement, and hospitality was a 
marked feature of his Maryland mansion. Ma- 
son writes of this portrait: "It is related of 
him (Nichols) that he determined to have his 
portrait painted by Stuart, and to this end, at- 
tended by his bodyguard, he drove from Balti- 
more to Boston in his own carriage, giving 
three weeks to the journey. Stuart rewarded 
his enthusiasm by painting a remarkably fine 
head of him." 

Gilbert Stuart's talent for painting began to 
show itself early in his teens. Like most chil- 
dren with a special talent, he was capable but 
wayward in school, self-willed, high-spirited, 
at the head and front of all mischief, and a 
general favourite with his companions. He 
worked his way to success through many vicis- 
situdes of fortune — lack of money and personal 
inconsistencies bringing the usual drawbacks. 
The words of his obituary by his friend Wash- 
ington Allston (the artist) are as true of 
Stuart to-day as when written in 1828. "In 
the world of art Mr. Stuart has left a void that 



36 AMERICAN PICTURES 

will not soon be filled. And well may his coun- 
try say : 'A great man has passed from among 
us/ But Gilbert Stuart has bequeathed her 
what is paramount to power — since no power 
can command it — the rich inheritance of his 
fame." 

Thomas Sully (1783-1872) was born in 
England, but as most of his time was spent in 
America, he is classed among our artists. Not 
always were his portraits, especially of women, 
satisfactory, but occasionally there were gen- 
uine sparks of inspiration in his brush, when 
he would produce a masterpiece of portraiture. 
One of his really good portraits is of "Frances 
Anne Kemble" (Fig. 11), better known as 
Fanny Kemble, Pennsylvania Academy of 
Fine Arts, Philadelphia. 

A beautiful and a brilliant woman was 
Fanny Kemble, with a heart warm and tender 
for the misfortunes of others. When twenty 
years old (1829) she began her public career 
at Covent Garden, London, in "Romeo and 
Juliet/' under her father's management, to re- 
claim the fortune of her family. She took the 
part of Juliet; her father was Romeo and her 
mother the nurse. From the first she was a 
complete success and in three years reclaimed 
the family exchequer. She came to America 
with her father in 1832 and was enthusiastic- 




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AND THEIR PAINTERS 37 

ally received; from then until her death, in 
1893, she spent much time in this country. 
Her marriage to a Georgia planter, Pierce 
Butler, in 1834, was not a success and after 
fifteen years she was divorced and resumed 
her maiden name. Her writings are well 
known, and her grandson, Owen Wister, is 
one of our distinguished authors to-day. 

Sully has certainly pictured the woman of 
genius in the glorious eyes, wide-set and shin- 
ing with love and sympathy. How modern in 
composition it is; everything is subordinated 
to the head, yet the contour of neck and shoul- 
ders and the firm hand and arm gives strength 
to the well-poised head. Sully was practically 
self-taught. From his ninth year, when his 
parents came from England, until grown to 
manhood he lived in South Carolina, away 
from art centres. The influence of his talents 
was soon felt, however, when his likenesses of 
southern beauties and men of affairs became 
known. 



CHAPTER III 

HUDSON RIVER SCHOOL 

COLE — CHURCH — DOUGHTY — LEUTZE — 
HUNT — BIERSTADT — HILL — MORAN 

^pHOMAS COLE 1(1801-1848) was prac- 
A tically the beginning of the Hudson 
River School. His early career as an artist 
was typical of the struggles and handicaps that 
so often beset art students with more talent 
than money. One of eight children in a small 
house in Philadelphia, where refinement and 
a love for music were dominant traits, he 
worked on his wood-engraving within sound 
of his sisters' sweet voices. A young law stu- 
dent, who had his home in the Cole family, 
writes of Thomas: "He has his little work- 
bench put up in our room, under the window 
sill, — we sat with our backs to each other; at 
intervals he whistled and sang, then laid aside 
the tool — took up his flute, which was his con- 
stant companion, and played some air." 

A longing for the country was stirring in the 
38 




i 



AMERICAN PICTURES 39 

heart of the young artist until, fired by tales 
of a travelling artist, he slung his green bag 
over his shoulder one October day and was 
off for the land of nowhere. Indian summer 
was at hand. And as he trudged up the Hud- 
son River valley the gaily decked maples and 
brilliant-hued sumachs, gladdening the deep 
green still lingering in the grass and under- 
growth, beckoned him on. When he reached 
the village of Catskill, bordering the foothills 
of the mountains, his real joy began. His own 
brush tells the story of what he saw "In the 
Catskills" (Fig. 12), Metropolitan Museum of 
Art. He opened 'the way and many other 
young artists followed in his footsteps. 

It was the sale of his early pictures of the 
Catskills and the good will of Trumbull and 
other artists that made possible a trip to Eng- 
land and access to the studios of Lawrence 
and Turner. The latter said of him : "There 
is a young man from America, named Cole, 
who ought to do fine things. He is as much of 
a poet as a painter/' 

Thomas Cole's most famous work, at least 
his best-known work, is "The Voyage of Life," 
in four scenes. Steel engravings, made of 
the series early in the last century, that have 
found their way into many homes throughout 
America, are growing more valuable each year. 



4o AMERICAN PICTURES 

Frederick E. Church (1826-1900) became 
a student of Thomas Cole in his studio in the, 
upper woods above the river. It was from 
this spot that Church explored the fastnesses 
of the mountains of the Catskill and the hidden 
coves and the ever-varying shores of the Hud- 
son. Here he caught that spirit, lurking in 
nature unmolested, which drew him irresist- 
ibly to her more astounding feats, first in South 
America and Jamaica and then to Labrador to 
complete his famous "Icebergs." Probably his 
"Niagara Falls" (Fig. 13), Corcoran Art Gal- 
lery, Washington, brought him the most per- 
manent fame. He painted this picture before 
he had been to the old world and most perti- 
nent was the statement made at its appearance 
that, "Indeed this work formed an era in the 
history of native landscape art, from the rev- 
elation it proved to Europeans." He certainly 
bewilders the mind with that stupendous vol- 
ume of water pouring into the abyss below. 

It is not surprising that the picture attracted 
favourable attention in Paris at the Interna- 
tional Exhibition in 1867, where it received a 
medal of the second class. At that time com- 
paratively few people in Europe had any defi- 
nite idea of our country or knew anything 
about its natural wonders. To state that such 
a vast quantity of water was pouring itself 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 41 

year after year over a fall of one hundred and 
sixty-four feet was almost unthinkable by the 
old world travellers, familiar with the falls of 
Switzerland. What did it mean — that wide 
stretch of water reaching to the very horizon? 
Where were the mountains to stay its course? 
And where did the depths below lead to that 
were swallowing up the mighty waters ? How 
calmly Church has marshalled his forces, until 
at the inevitable moment the great phenome- 
non is consummated! 

Thomas Doughty (1793-1856) was another 
leader in American landscape painting. A na- 
tive of Philadelphia, he was early apprenticed 
to a leather manufacturer and even became a 
manufacturer himself. But when twenty-eight 
years old he decided to become a painter. His 
picture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art 
of a view "On the Hudson" (Fig. 14) is a fine 
example of the "silvery tone" he gave to his 
canvases to convince the American public of 
the beauty of our landscape. Doughty worked 
in London and in Paris but he remained true 
to his native inheritance and painted his pic- 
tures of home scenes with so much sincerity 
and truth that they brought him great popu- 
larity and are still highly prized. 

When Emanuel Leutze (1816-1868), who 
holds a unique place in American art, painted 



42 AMERICAN PICTURES 

"Washington Crossing the Delaware" (Fig. 
15), Metropolitan Museum of Art, he made a 
picture that every school child associates with 
that important crisis in our early history. Of 
course the boat is too frail to cope with the 
tremendous rush of the ice and snow in the 
Delaware River under the spring thaw, but 
we must remember that Leutze made his 
studies of the breaking up of river-ice in his 
garden overlooking the Rhine at Diisseldorf. 
The flag, too, is an anachronism as it was not 
adopted until six months later, June 14, 1777. 
Nevertheless, the spirit of patriotic enthusi- 
asm overbalances all defects in the picture as 
a work of art. Though a native German, 
Leutze was reared in America and this early 
training gave him an understanding of our 
national struggles that resulted in his preserv- 
ing to us on canvas the most noted events in 
the American Revolution. 

Quite early in his art career Leutze recrossed 
the Atlantic to study in the Diisseldorf Acad- 
emy. Later he returned to America full of 
the enthusiasm of the new movement — the 
overcoming of the artificial in producing some- 
thing of the life of the present. Leutze was 
certainly a man of colossal mind with ideals of 
grand proportions, though his art was rather 
crude in colour and technique. 




Ktg. 13 — Niagara Falls. Church. Courtesy of the Corcoran Art Galley 

Washington. 




Fig. 14 — On the Hudson. Doughty. 
Courtesy of the Metrooolitan Museum 
of Art. 




Fig. 15 — Washington Crossing the Delaware. 
Leutze. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum 
of Art. 




Fig. 16— The Bathers. Hunt. Courtesy of the Worcester (Mass.) Art Museum. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 43 

No early American artist studied art under 
more favourable circumstances (too favour- 
able) than William Morris Hunt (1824- 1879). 
Unfortunately inherited political, social, finan- 
cial, and intellectual gifts did not make him a 
master painter, though they did give him high 
ideals, and those ideals were his salvation. 

At sixteen Hunt was sent to Harvard, but 
it was the college life, not the studies, that at- 
tracted him. This soon brought disgrace, in 
suspension and ill health from over-indulgence, 
until consumption was imminent. His alarmed 
mother hurried with him to Europe and finally 
the family settled in Rome, where he soon be- 
gan to improve in health and his artistic nature 
to expand. His first thought was to be a sculp- 
tor, and to this end he entered a sculptor's stu- 
dio in Rome and later spent a short time under 
Barye in Paris. The idea of returning to Har- 
vard was abandoned in favour of an art career 
— a career subject to many changes as time 
went on. 

At twenty young William decided that his 
talent was painting and went to Diisseldorf, 
where he and Leutze were fellow students. 
Soon Hunt rebelled under the restraint of the 
mechanical methods that were used alike in 
training artists, mechanics and scientists. 
Then, too, the hard work savoured too much of 



44 AMERICAN PICTURES 

college, so he returned to Paris and again de- 
cided to take up his chisel, this time with Pra- 
dier, the sculptor. Before carrying out this 
plan he made a hurried trip to America and 
while at home saw a painting by Couture 
(French) which so influenced him that he lost 
no time in returning to Paris to study with 
the French painter. Couture was an eclectic, 
in a measure, at least he had broken away from 
the hard, cold, cut-and-dried rules of the class- 
icists, particularly in his warmth of colour. 
He also showed considerable feeling for na- 
ture. For five years Hunt studied with Cou- 
ture, as his favourite pupil. The progress he 
made under the influence of praise satisfied 
him for a time, but at last his eyes were opened 
through the study of the old masters. Couture 
ceased to be all in all and, fortunately, Millet 
now came into the life of the young American. 
Hunt saw at once the bigness of the "Ra- 
phael of Pigs." He went to Barbizon, regard- 
less of the ridicule of his Paris associates, and 
sat at the feet of Millet. Hunt wrote of the 
French master: "I found him working in a 
cellar, three feet underground, his pictures be- 
coming mildewed, as there was no floor. He 
was desperately poor, but painting tremendous 
things." Hunt's association with Millet was 
that of master and pupil, though Millet never 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 45 

had pupils in the strict sense of the word. 
They walked together, these two, Hunt absorb- 
ing from the master as he talked by the way. 
What an inspiration to be with a man whose 
soul was alive to the great heart of humanity ! 
He would say: "See those things that are 
moving down there in a shadow. They are 
creeping or walking, but they exist; they are 
the genii of the plain. They are nothing but 
poor folk, however. It is a woman all bent, 
without doubt, who is bringing back her load 
of grass; it is another, who is dragging herself 
along, exhausted, under a bundle of fagots. 
From a distance they are superb. They square 
their shoulders under the burden ; the twilight 
devours their forms ; it is beautiful, it is grand 
as a mystery." 

Hunt bought Millet's pictures as far as he 
could, but, what is of greater value, he came 
home to America and taught his pupils the 
wonderful lessons learned from the Barbizon 
master. In his "Bathers" (Fig. 16), Worces- 
ter (Mass.) Art Museum, we feel the honest 
simplicity of one who loved nature and who 
longed to represent her in very truth. The 
wholesome glow on the warm pink flesh, com- 
ing from within the healthy bodies, and the 
alert tension of the elastic muscles mark his 
sympathetic understanding of boy-life. Hunt's 



46 AMERICAN PICTURES 

sensitive artistic nature was easily played upon 
by Millet's simple scenes, and at times he al- 
most comes up to the master's standards in his 
own work — as in the "Bathers" — and always 
in his teaching. He seemed to realise, how- 
ever, his own limitations, even in his many 
years of successful teaching in Boston, for 
he would say, sadly: 

"In another country I might have been a 
painter." 

There were three artists who discovered our 
western mountains about the same time and 
each, in his own way, thought to make a great 
national art by stretching large canvases and 
painting expansive scenes; but the very big- 
ness of the western out-of-doors was their un- 
doing. Albert Bierstadt (1830), German by 
birth, made the Rocky Mountains his studio 
and there strove to interpret the height and 
depth of that stupendous upheaval of past ages. 
His ambition exceeded his talent and Dussel- 
dorf training, and what was a marvel in nature 
became tame and lifeless under his brush. 

Thomas Hill (1829), English by birth, suc- 
ceeded a little better in representing the won- 
ders of California. His "Yosemite Valley" 
(Fig. 17), Crocker Gallery, Sacramento, car- 
ries us in imagination through the deep de- 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 47 

pression into the mystery of the mountains 
beyond. 

The picture is a marvel in perspective; in 
the near distance is El Capitan towering a 
sheer four thousand feet above the Merced 
River, the tiny stream that has come rolling 
and tumbling through the narrow valley from 
the falls at the other end of the valley, seven 
miles away. The surrounding rocks are a 
strange rampart of sentinels, irregular in size 
and shape, but forming nearly a complete wall 
enclosing the deep narrow depression. The 
Yosemite Valley, or Grizzly Bear as the In- 
dians named it, is one of those freaks of 
mother earth where suddenly, eons ago, she 
lowered a small part of herself down into the 
depths below and then became stationary, 
forming a wee snug valley about seven miles 
long and a half to two miles wide, protected 
by a sheer wall. The falls that have been pour- 
ing over nooks and angles of the rocks for 
ages have made no appreciable impression in 
wearing away the hard foundation — at least 
not since the valley was discovered in 1851. 

Thomas Moran (1837), English by birth, 
also painted the Yosemite Valley, but probably 
he is best known by his Yellowstone Park pic- 
tures. 



CHAPTER IV 
INNESS 

f EORGE INNESS (1825-1894), born in 
^* Newburgh, N. Y., was America's first 
great exponent of landscapes. A forerunner, 
an innovator and a modern, he stands as a 
revealer. The Corcoran Art Gallery, Wash- 
ington, D. C, is exceedingly fortunate in 
owning his "Sunset in the Woods" (Fig. 18) 
because of the artist's own words in regard 
to it. On July 23, 1891, Mr. Inness wrote of 
the "Sunset in the Woods" : "The material 
of my picture was taken from a sketch made 
near Hastings, Westchester County, New 
York, twenty years ago. This picture was 
commenced seven years ago, but until last win- 
ter I had not obtained any idea commensurate 
with the impression received on the spot. The 
idea is to represent an effect of light in the 
woods toward sundown, but to allow the imag- 
ination to predominate. " We feel in this bit 
of personal revelation that we have drawn 
near to the original power of this artist's 

48 




Fig. 18 — Sunset in the Woods. Inness. Courtesy of the Corcoran Art Gallery, 

Washington. 




*"■****- 



Yic. 19 — Coming Storm. Inness. Courtesy of the Carnegie Public 
Library, Fort Worth, Texas. 



AMERICAN PICTURES 49 

genius. If, in the hurry to sell to-day, there 
could be a little more of the Inness spirit of 
waiting until genius really burns, we might 
have fewer failures on the market. Why the 
public buys as it does is an unexplained mys- 
tery. However, if those with opportunities 
would live up to their responsibilities, the 
public would learn to buy good art, for only 
good art would be offered them. 

Was it not worth the waiting to get that 
glow on the venerable old tree trunk and in 
the opening beyond the big boulder? How 
we can feel the gloom creeping in and the dark- 
ness shutting down ! A stillness is in the air ; 
the hushed twitter of the birds and the nodding 
flowers warn us that night is near. The cry 
of the owl and the night insects grows bolder. 
Come ! we must hurry, for that brilliant glow 
— like the hectic flush — goes suddenly 

"and leaves the world to darkness." 

The "Coming Storm" (Fig. 19), Carnegie 
Public Library, Fort Worth, Texas, is one of 
several storm pictures that Inness painted. He 
was especially felicitous in representing the 
states of the weather, if such a prosaic term 
may be used for his poetic portrayal of na- 
ture's moods. He makes us feel the summer's 



So AMERICAN PICTURES 

heat — hot, drowsy, quiet, shimmery under the 
noonday sun, also the coming storm when the 
air is heavy with gathering moisture. The 
clouds heap themselves together in wild masses, 
literally driving out the sunshine as they hurl 
their thunderbolts across the valley. A glorious 
sight, that moving mass now shrouding the 
hilltop ! A hush is in the valley ; not even the 
treetops feel the fury of the coming storm. 
The sunlight twinkles and glows on the gath- 
ering clouds, as though defying the onrush. 
A thrill of pleasure is ours in a scene like this, 
for often we have watched just such a storm 
gather. Inness never fails to bring to us a 
sense of nearness — as something that warms 
our heart and makes us happier. Usually it 
is summer that appeals to him, the time when 
the earth rejoices and nature is giving her 
fullest bounty. 

Now we turn to the "Approaching Storm" 
(Fig. 20), City Art Museum, St. Louis, and 
find that Inness never was any more monoto- 
nous in painting a storm than a storm itself is 
monotonous. He was quick to catch a unique 
demonstration of the elements and its effect on 
surrounding nature. The storm in its onrush 
has roused to an unusual pitch the young cow 
in the foreground, as she hurries to shelter. 
The rapidly moving clouds seem to change po- 




Fig. 20 — Approaching Storm. Inness. Courtesy of the City Art Museum, 

St. Louis. 




Fig. 21 — Peace and Plenty. Inness. Courtesy of 
the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 




Fig. 22 — Delaware "V alley. Inness. Courtesy of 
the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 




Fig. 23 — Early Morning. Inness. Courtesy of the Art Institute, Chicago. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 51 

sition before our very eyes, so vividly does our 
imagination picture the storm bursting upon 
the land. Somehow George Inness gets into 
our blood whether he is portraying the mi- 
nutest details, as in his earlier works, "Peace 
and Plenty" (Fig. 21) and the "Delaware 
Valley" (Fig. 22), Metropolitan Museum of 
Art, or whether he is getting the effect through 
simpler methods. In "Peace and Plenty," his 
unconventional composition, with its broad ex- 
panse of fields and winding stream leading to 
the mountains in the distance and his pleasing 
colour full of sunshine, fill us with the joy 
of the country; and in the "Approaching 
Storm" the rumble and crack of the thunder 
and lightning make our blood tingle just as 
they used to when we were children. 

It is an interesting bit of history that Inness 
painted "Peace and Plenty" just as peace was 
declared from the Civil War and the country 
had had an unprecedent year of plenty. When 
Mr. Snedecor, the. founder of the gallery, saw 
it he offered to frame and exhibit it for half 
the sale proceeds — but no buyer was found 
for the picture. And only after several 
changes in dealers and a number of years had 
passed was this picture, now occupying an 
honoured place in the Metropolitan Museum 
of Art, sold and at an inverse ratio price to 



52 AMERICAN PICTURES; 

the number of years since it came from Mr. 
Inness' brush. 

One of the finest, if not the finest, collec- 
tion of paintings by George Inness is in the 
Art Institute of Chicago. Only when we can 
see a number of Inness' landscapes consecu- 
tively do we fully appreciate his words about 
the purpose of his pictures. "Some persons 
suppose that a landscape has no power of con- 
veying human sentiment. The civilised land- 
scape peculiarly can; and therefore I love it 
more and think it more worthy of reproduction 
than that which is savage and untamed. It is 
more significant/' 

As we linger before his "Early Morning" 
(Fig. 23) a feeling of reverence steals over 
us, for surely it is a morning prayer of thanks- 
giving. Tenderly and lovingly the rising mist 
kisses the green things as it passes, and the 
trees and the grass sparkle with joy at the 
caress. It is not a sentimental scene, this early 
morning, but a familiar one that finds an echo 
in our hearts. The power of touching the 
mystery of familiar things was one of Inness' 
strong points. There lingers in and around his 
landscapes that human warmth which makes 
the world akin. He was always a student, but 
he never had pupils. He used to say when 
asked how many pupils he had, "I have had 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 53 

one for a very long time, and He is more than 
enough for me. The more I teach him the 
less he knows and the older he grows the 
farther he is from what he ought to be." In- 
ness worked standing, very rapidly at first, 
then more and more slowly as he neared the 
completion of his picture, to secure the best 
results. It was his custom to stand at his 
easel from twelve to fifteen hours. 

When George Inness began to make him- 
self felt in America he caused almost as much 
controversy among artists as Turner did in 
England and Puvis de Chavannes in France. 
Like all innovators, he was looked upon 
with suspicion until he proved himself in 
the right. That Inness did prove himself in 
the right is seen in landscape painting to-day. 
He threw off the yoke of representing merely 
externalities, and, with his poetic instinct, gave 
subtle meaning to his interpretations of na- 
ture that proved him a genius. He was many 
times unequal in his painting, but never prosaic 
or commonplace, and the poetry of his scenes 
is always fascinating. 

Inness' own words index his art : "I would 
not give a fig for art ideas except as they rep- 
resent what I perceive behind them. . . . Riv- 
ers, streams, the rippling brook, the hillside, 
the sky, clouds — all things we see — will con- 



54 AMERICAN PICTURES 

vey the sentiment of the highest art if we are 
in the love of God and the desire of truth." 
When he selected the "Home of the Heron" 
(Fig. 24), The Art Institute, Chicago, as a 
bit of nature to be interpreted, he told plainer 
than words could tell his love for the out-of- 
the-way places where the mists and vapours 
hang low and the ever-varying atmosphere, 
illuminating and enveloping the whole, is like 
a veil revealing and concealing the charms of 
a beautiful woman. So intimate and familiar 
is he with this particular spot that even the 
heron, timid as she is, does not fly far from 
her home. 

Inness was sixty-five and at the zenith of 
his art career when he painted "Sunset in 
Georgia" (Fig. 25), Layton Art Gallery, Mil- 
waukee, Wis. With him began the war be- 
tween the old and the new in American land- 
scape painting, and in him the modern Ameri- 
can landscapists found their strongest advo- 
cate. He saw in the Barbizon artists, as 
against the Hudson River school, a freedom 
from the restraint of painting petty details 
that touched his American sense of the big- 
ness of the great out-of-doors, and he came 
home to find the subjects for his own paint- 
ings at his very door. These two traits, ex- 
panse of vision and intimate scenes, are the. 




Fig. 24 — Home of the Heron. Inness. Courtesy of the Art Institute, 

Chicago. 




Fig. 25 — Sunset in Georgia. Inness. Courtesy of the Layton Art Gal- 
lery, Milwaukee. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 55 

touchstones of his art. Even in the "Sunset 
in Georgia" we feel that he has chosen a fa- 
vourite spot on the estate of his friend. With 
his poetic nature all aglow, he has given a poem 
on canvas that shows the glory of the fragrant 
wood and the shimmering water and the phan- 
tom steamer, for it seems but a phantom. The 
old negro servant, true to his native instinct, 
has stolen down to watch, feeling in his soul 
the charm and mystery of the coming of the 
outside world. 

Inness was indeed a man of deep thought 
and of distinct individuality. Even at the end 
of his career, after many changes in style, he 
had lost none of his artistic enthusiasm or 
originality. 



CHAPTER V 
KEITH— MARTIN— WYANT—BUNCE 

A VERY close friendship existed between 
the Scotch-American artist, William 
Keith (1839-1911), and George Inness. At one 
time Inness made a long stay in California and 
while there shared Keith's studio. That these 
two men influenced each other more or less is 
probably true. They were too original, how- 
ever, and too genuinely in earnest to express 
themselves in their pictures otherwise than in- 
dividually and with a poetic spirit characteris- 
tic of true nature artists. 

Mr. Keith spent his early boyhood in his na- 
tive highlands, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, on the 
old estate where the Keith family still owns a 
feudal castle. He came to America with his 
parents when about twelve years old and at 
first worked in a lawyer's office, but spent his 
spare time studying wood-engraving. Very 
shortly the engraver's needle superseded the 
lawyer's pen and when less than twenty he 
held a position with Harper and Brothers, mak- 

56 



AMERICAN PICTURES 57 

ing plates for both their weekly and monthly 
periodicals. But the spirit of expansion was 
in his blood and in 1859 he went to California 
to live. Here his pencil drawings were inade- 
quate to represent the marvellous effects of 
colour and light and atmosphere, and he soon 
began to replace them with water-colour 
sketches. These found ready purchasers, and 
by the time he was thirty he had earned enough 
to make his first trip to Europe. He spent 
a year studying in Dusseldorf, laying the 
foundation for his future career. Again and 
again Keith visited Europe and sought out the 
great collections of world-paintings, ever re- 
turning, however, to his beloved Sierras. 

That Keith understood the mountains and 
valleys of the Golden State his numerous paint- 
ings bear record. We feel in his "Coming 
Storm" (Fig. 26), Art Institute, Chicago, a 
mysterious brooding of thoughts too deep for 
words. The soft green that forms the setting 
reminds us of Herculaneum bronzes in rich- 
ness of colour, and the banked clouds, tinged 
with the sun's golden rays, like a great uncut 
topaz, vary with every wind puff. The quiet 
peace of the tiny cottages snuggled close to the 
protecting oaks is undisturbed — the storm is 
only transient. Keith once said, "The senti- 
ment is the only thing of real value in my pic- 



58 AMERICAN PICTURES 

tures, and only a few people understand that." 
It was not surprising that he would ask of 
his "subjective pictures," as he called them: 
"You don't like that picture? Well, I don't 
care; it's good, anyway — it's a 'cracker jack.' 
You say it is irritating, and that proves it is 
good. If it didn't arouse any feeling in you 
at all, it would be worthless. And, I tell you, 
if you had that picture around all the time, 
and saw it every day, you would grow to like 
it — you couldn't help it." We understand his 
pictures better after seeing a number of them 
together. Being a man of moods, his pictures 
vary greatly in their appeal to us. We may 
not be able to appreciate the full significance 
of the "Summit of the Sierras" (Fig. 2j) 9 In- 
stitute of Art, San Francisco, yet we are lifted 
into a realm of everlasting snow in spite of 
ourselves. Were it not for the warm, com- 
forting greens and venerable storm-broken 
trees, companionable in their very ruggedness, 
the vision of the mountain tops would be al- 
most too much for our poor earthbound minds. 
It is little wonder that he whose pictures were 
largely subjective should have felt the lure of 
California. He was steeped in the beauties of 
that wonderful country, and there found 
scenes that fitted his every mood. With a 
mind and heart full of mountains and valleys, 




Fig. 26 — Coming Storm. Keith. Courtesy of the Art Institute, Chicagc 




Fig. 27 — Summit of the Sierras. Keith. Courtesy of the Institute of Art, 
San Francisco. 




Fig. 28 — The Mountain Top. Keith. Courtesy of the Institute of Art, 
San Francisco. 




Fig. 29— Harp of the Winds. Martin. Courtesy of the Metropolitan 
Museum of Art. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 59 

trees ever green and a sky whose glories are 
unthinkable to the uninitiated, it is not sur- 
prising that he could say, "I feel some emo- 
tion," and immediately paint a picture to ex- 
press it. 

Many times the mountains called him, some- 
times in a mood of exultation and again of 
quiet and meditation. Of the former mood 
the "Mountain Top" (Fig. 28), Institute of 
Art, San Francisco, symbolises a spiritual ex- 
altation that no words could convey. Surely 
the artist has caught a glimpse of the Great 
White Throne. 

Homer D. Martin (1836-1897) and Alex- 
ander H. Wyant (1836- 1892) stand with 
George Inness in the triangle that represents 
American landscape painting in the nineteenth 
century. Inness, ten years the elder, did sound 
the first note, but in so doing he struck a chord 
in the artistic natures of the other two that 
responded and gave out notes as clear and 
original as his own. 

Homer Martin truly sings to us on the harp 
in the "Harp of the Winds" (Fig. 29), Met- 
ropolitan Museum of Art. The breeze steal- 
ing through the slender poplars must be whis- 
pering a sweet melody to the bowing trunks 
and waving branches, and they in turn are 
repeating the strain to the placid water where 



60 AMERICAN PICTURES 

they are mirrored. This picture is a symphony, 
a poem and a colour harmony. 

Martin, excepting a few weeks of instruc- 
tion, was a self-taught artist. He spent sev- 
eral years in Europe, where he was associated 
with Whistler, but not even that powerful, 
magnetic man could change the inner spring of 
Martin's artistic nature. There was something 
inside the man that compelled him to sift out 
essentials. Almost austere, yet never unkind, 
in his searching for the elementary, he places 
before us the very framework of nature. Look 
again at the "Harp of the Winds/' Sky, rocks, 
trees and water — bare facts. Was there ever 
sweeter music with fewer details? The sug- 
gested hamlet, the clinging bushes, the float- 
ing clouds and the all but leafless trees are 
warm from the hands of the Creator. They 
draw us close to the beginning "and God saw 
that it was good." When this picture was 
sent to Germany a few years ago to repre- 
sent America it was a wise choice. It is true 
that not always are our artists big enough to 
hold to the essentials; simplicity, like a gold 
thread, is the fundamental that is raising up 
masters in our midst. 

Although Alexander Wyant was born in a 
little Ohio village away from art centres, 
curiously enough he heard of Inness and when 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 61 

probably only twenty saw an original paint- 
ing by Inness in Cincinnati. This so fired 
young Wy ant's ambition that he made a trip 
over the mountains to Perth Amboy to see the 
master and ask his advice. How Inness, who 
was ever responding to the enthusiasm of 
young artists, must have warmed the heart of 
the Ohio boy and sent him home with an in- 
tensified desire to paint scenes around his 
home ! The first picture Wyant ever exhibited 
in the National Academy, in 1865, was "A 
View of the Ohio River." 

Wyant went to Germany in 1864, but, dislik- 
ing the methods of the Diisseldorf school, 
turned to the Barbizon masters and Constable 
and Turner in England. His stay in Europe 
was short. On returning to America he set- 
tled in New York City. When he was at the 
height of young manhood he met with a dis- 
aster that would have ended the art career of 
a lesser man. Not being well, he joined a gov- 
ernment exploring expedition to Arizona and 
Mexico, hoping to gain strength. But the 
hardships, exaggerated by the cruelty of the 
leader, so undermined his health that he was 
stricken with pai alysis and never regained the 
use of his right hand. But Wyant had some- 
thing worth while to give the world and no 
handicap could deter him, The cunning of the 



62 AMERICAN PICTURES 

right hand was transferred to the left and his 
art ripened and matured under the inward 
strength of the seer. 

Let us stand before his "Forenoon in the 
Adirondacks" (Fig. 30), Metropolitan Mu- 
seum of Art, and watch the light on the distant 
hills. Listen: we almost hear the whisper of 
the leaves under the caress of the sun. And 
the little winding stream, how it babbles as it 
passes, and how solemnly the tall grey birch 
tree guards its laughing waters ! No one knew 
better than Wyant how to harmonise them. 
Sometimes he gathers the sun's rays in Oc- 
tober into one great mass of golden light and 
floods a low-lying marsh until the feathery 
grasses and dignified cat-tails glimmer and 
glisten like burnished gold; and again the sub- 
dued light stealing from a shaded nook is his 
and only the hilltop feels the sun. His shades 
are never gloom and his sunshine is ever a 
benediction. It is not surprising that every 
year his pictures increase in value, for they are 
the works of one inspired of God. 

William Gedney Bunce (1840-1916), spe- 
cially known for his Venetian scenes, comes a 
little closer to modern methods, without break- 
ing with traditions of the past. He has the pa- 
tience that waits until a scene has literally be- 
come a part of himself. This often results in 




Fig. 30 — Forenoon in the Adirondack^. Wyant. Courtesy 
of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 




Fig. 31 — Morning in Venice. Bunce. Courtesy of the Macbeth Gal- 
lery, New York City. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 63 

his painting nature as he sees her and not as 
she is. There is no question but that a "Morn- 
ing in Venice" (Fig. 31) is a scene of the 
artist's vision. It gives the spirit of Venice — 
and a spirit that is insistent in its appeal— but 
it is Mr. Bunce who has conjured up the spirit. 
His pictures have a true decorative value 
founded as they are on the mysterious spell 
of the Venetian colour of sky and water and 
sail-boats. It matters little what objects are 
represented with so bewitching a colour ele- 
ment. 



CHAPTER VI 
HOMER 

TlflNSLOW HOMER (1836-1910), though 
* trained entirely in American schools, 
was big enough in spirit to grasp the great 
essentials of true art and give to the world an 
art that appeals to humanity. Old ocean was 
never lashed to canvas in his moods of fury 
until Homer bound him. At first he used the 
angry or sullen waves as simple settings for 
scenes somewhat anecdotal in character but 
always human in interest. In the "Fog Warn- 
ing" (Fig. 32), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 
the boatman is one of that company of 
"shipmen who had knowledge of the sea." 
The man shows no hurrying born of fear in 
the long sweep of the steady arms, nor yet does 
he ignore the danger of fog and storm — his 
courage, born of experience, is cautious, 
steady and enduring. 

We are becoming so accustomed to thinking 
of Winslow Homer as the painter of the ocean 
that we feel a little surprised when we see his 

64 




Fig. 32 — Fog Warning. Homer. Courtesy of the Museum of Fine 
Arts, Boston. 




Fig. 33 — Hark, the Lark! Homer. Courtesy of the Layton Art 
Gallery, Milwaukee. 



AMERICAN PICTURES 65 

other pictures. The surprise, however, is an 
exceedingly pleasant one in the Layton Gal- 
lery, Milwaukee, Wis., where the picture is 
"Hark, the Lark!" (Fig. 33). The charm of 
the ocean is in it — the salt air, the stiff breeze, 
the sand dunes, but above all the free life 6f 
the fisher folk. Yes, I know there is the sad 
story of those who follow the sea, but people 
who stop at the song of the lark are not all 
sadness. What eager comely faces these 
young women have, and how far removed 
from the peasant folk of the old world ! Native- 
born American women are these toilers, with 
aspirations that lift their souls to the heights 
and make of drudgery something more than 
simply existing. Surely Wordsworth's words 
would find a response in the hearts of these 
three. 

"Up with me ! up with me into the clouds ! 

For thy song, Lark, is strong; 
Up with me, up with me into the clouds ! 

Singing, singing, 
With clouds and sky above thee ringing, 

Lift me, guide me till I find 
That spot which seems so to thy mind !" 

It was not unusual for Homer to see pictures 
in the homely scenes of the farm, particularly 
when it was a simple, usual occurrence in the 



66 AMERICAN PICTURES 

life of a half -grown boy. In the "Unruly 
Calf" (Fig. 34), Institute of Arts and Sci- 
ences, Brooklyn, how well Homer under- 
stood that no animal is more likely to take 
a sudden stand for no earthly reason than 
a half -grown calf — particularly a pet one — 
and that no brute, for its size, can be more 
firmly rooted to the ground. Its four legs 
are so many posts set to brace each other. 
Why the animal stops no one can tell. It is 
sheer stupidity, I suspect. The boy may pull 
and twist at the rope with all his strength ; but 
what cares that big-eyed quadruped for a rope 
around his neck? The scene is delicious in its 
entire truth to nature. The atmosphere of 
the country is perfect; the disgust of the boy 
and the contrariness of the calf are simply 
bits of real life that make us forget everything 
but the outcome of the struggle between the 
two. Homer knew that especial episode well; 
perhaps he knew the very negro boy who was 
sent to bring the calf home. The whiff of the 
country that such a picture brings is a veritable 
tonic to tired bodies and fagged brains. 

We realise, however, that Homer knew the 
ocean as few people knew it. His home for 
years was Scarboro, Me., out on a spit of 
land where the sight and sound of the ocean 
were ever present. Here he made those stu- 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 67 

pendous masterpieces of old ocean — veritable 
portraits of the mighty deep "where the floods 
lift up their waves." We unconsciously draw 
our cloaks closer as we look at the "North- 
easter" (Fig. 35), Metropolitan Museum of 
Art. The spray dashing against the brown- 
black rocks fairly strikes our faces and the 
great breaking wave is bound to overwhelm 
us. What a restless, resistless force is moving 
those mighty waters ! The swish of the spray 
and the roar of the breakers fill our ears as 
we drink in the grandeur of the scene. 

The ocean became more and more the real 
theme of Homer's paintings, yet he never lost 
sight of its relationship to man. The artist's 
heart was big with human sympathy, and not 
even constant communion with the roar of 
waters in his home on the Maine coast could 
make him forget the fisher folk who dwell by 
the sea. And how marvellous his insight into 
the heart qualities that made possible such a 
scene as "The Gale" (Fig. 36), Worcester 
(Mass.) Art Museum. That strong, fearless 
woman, like a young lioness in its native forest, 
moves along the rock-bound coast confident in 
her power yet watchful of the ever-changing 
and merciless monsters pitted against each 
other. The awful noise of the bellowing wind 
and roaring water would terrorise a landsman, 



68 AMERICAN PICTURES 

but not so this child of the sea. Her ears are 
accustomed to the angry growl of the elements. 
She is concerned only in the safety of her lit- 
tle one. Her mother-instinct responds to the 
exhilaration of conquering opposing forces. 
The wide-eyed child knows no fear. 

It is not surprising that "The Gale" won a 
gold medal at the Chicago World's Fair in 
1893, and yet the artist's modest price of fif- 
teen hundred dollars was reduced to the pitiful 
sum of seven hundred and fifty dollars before 
it found a purchaser. And now, less than a 
quarter of a century later, the Worcester Art 
Museum paid to Snedecor and Company, New 
York City, approximately thirty thousand dol- 
lars — the highest price ever paid for an Ameri- 
can picture by an American artist — for this 
masterpiece that belongs to the ages. The pity 
of it is that, as from time immemorial, master- 
artists still have little financial benefit from 
tKeir works. Who is to blame? 

"The Wreck" (Fig. 37), Carnegie Institute, 
Pittsburgh, Pa., American in setting, has the 
spirit of the follow-the-sea-folk that Homer 
put into his earlier works. The merciless 
power of the ocean is the underlying theme, 
yet the unflinching courage of the life-saving 
crew is the human element that holds us. 
Again we feel that Homer's profound rev- 




Copyright, Carnegie Institute. 

Fig. 37 — The Wreck. Homer. Courtesy of the Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh. 




From a Thistle Print. Copyright, Detroit Publishing Co. 

Fig. 38 — Sunlight on the Beach. Homer. Courtesy of the Museum of 

Art, Toledo. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 69 

erence for the mighty waters that cover the 
deep was sweetened by his great sympathy 
with humanity. A man of strong imagination, 
tempered by a self-control that gripped him, 
he centred his art on a broad and wholesome 
understanding of man's strength and nature's 
powers. 

We might almost call the ''Sunlight on the 
Beach" (Fig. 38) the "Home-coming." The 
steamer steadily nearing the port speaks vol- 
umes; the joy of the home-coming is in the 
glad sunlight that sparkles on the dark green 
waters around it and dissipates the mist of the 
land storm sweeping out to sea. How the petty 
and mean sink out of sight in this glorious pic- 
ture! Homer's interpretation of the mighty 
deep is a revelation. We feel that its majesty 
and power reflect the One "who hath measured 
the waters in the hollowi of His hand." 

And the "Coming Storm" (Fig. 39), Lotos 
Club, New York City, is another phase of the 
troubled waters as distinctive as a real storm 
always is. How these fisher-folk must feel 
every turn of the wind, every piling of the 
clouds, every tumbling of the waves, knowing 
that their loved ones are at the mercy of these 
untamed monsters! Into their hearts must 
come "Peace, be still," of far off Galilee, with 
a new meaning. 



70 AMERICAN PICTURES 

There is no question about Winslow Homer 
standing for American art. It was his picture 
in Paris in 1900 that compelled foreigners to 
note the fact that he was more than an Ameri- 
can painter. It was then that just a faint sug- 
gestion entered the minds of Europeans that 
America might have an art of its own in time. 
Were it not for the stupidity of it, the idea — 
for it is now only an idea — that we have no 
art would be amusing. Yet it still clings to 
the minds of some of our own people, as well 
as to those of our contemporaries across the 
water. Our artists are something like the chil- 
dren who, in their parents' eyes, never grow 
up. But why even mention a circumstance 
so far in the past and especially when discuss- 
ing paintings by Winslow Homer ? 



CHAPTER VII 
FULLER— JOHNSON— VEDDER— COLEMAN 

A S soon as an individual or a people has 
reached the stage of development that 
calls for a recognition from the world, it gives 
an impetus to the whole being that raises each 
part to a much higher standard. When the 
United States celebrated its hundredth anni- 
versary at Philadelphia, in 1876, and the na- 
tions of the earth came to congratulate, the 
whole body politic assumed a new dignity, and 
each part became conscious of its own impor- 
tance. This was particularly true of the fine 
arts. Our position as an agricultural people, 
as a manufacturing people, as an inventive 
people, and as a generally progressive people 
had been recognised and commented upon, but, 
except in individual cases, our standing in the 
art world as a nation had attracted no special 
attention. From this time in our history we 
are to be reckoned with from the artistic stand- 
point as well, although it has taken another 

71 



jz AMERICAN PICTURES 

twenty-five years before the artistic training 
could be gained in our art centres. 

They were not all young artists who came 
under the spell of the new activity by the cele- 
bration of the nation's birthday, but artists 
who for a quarter of a century had been keep- 
ing abreast of the times and were keen for any 
movement where the trend was toward prog- 
ress. Not all of the men, however, were work- 
ing before the eyes of the public. Take a man 
like George Fuller (1822-1884), an artist 
whose pictures are being justly recognised. He 
was born in Deerfield, Mass., and the little 
training he ever had was gained in Albany 
and Boston. When his "Quadroon/' Metro- 
politan Museum of Art, was exhibited in the 
early sixties, or possibly in the fifties, the 
criticism was so adverse, it is said, that for 
eighteen years the artist sent nothing more 
to the exhibition. 

Fuller was seeing beauty in the hazy atmos- 
phere and mist-covered fields. To him the 
luminous morning veil and the dull shadows 
of evening were softening influences of nature. 
We feel in the "Quadroon" that the girl's dull 
soul is hidden under a transient veil rather 
than that the artist has taken this means to 
soften the tragedy of a clouded mind. 

During the formative years of work Fuller 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 73 

was struggling to support his family on a mort- 
gaged farm, but making of himself a sane, 
well-balanced man. Though his efforts to 
wrest a living from the land failed, in 1876, 
his pictures, the by-products of farming, saved 
the day. The point of view after a score of 
years had changed, and the public now bought 
with enthusiasm. For the remaining eight 
years of his life he had purchasers for every- 
thing he did. Fuller was unique in his work ; 
without the fundamental of all art, drawing, 
he produced with colour and atmosphere a 
sentiment in his pictures that contains the 
very essence of poetry. 

"The Fuller Boy" (Fig. 40), City Art Mu- 
seum, St. Louis, has a charm that nothing 
can mar. He is a real child, with the quaint 
earnestness of one used to hearing and in- 
stinctively understanding the family problems. 
This boy could have felt intuitively the father's 
hurt over a rejected picture, but could only 
express his sympathy in a dumb, childlike de- 
votion. 

Eastman Johnson (1824-1906) was big 
enough to study at Diisseldorf without losing 
his personality. Association with Leutze — a 
man of generous impulses — strengthened rath- 
er than weakened his artistic independence. 
After studying the old masters in Italy and 



74 AMERICAN PICTURES 

Paris and spending four years at The Hague, 
he settled in New York and painted American 
subjects in his own American manner. 

Johnson's genre pictures of the Southern 
negro before the war are real bits of history. 
They are original and unusual in their por- 
trayal of the negro's natural traits of character 
and give us a better understanding of them and 
their future development. One of his strong- 
est paintings is "The Old Kentucky Home" 
(Fig. 41), New York City Public Library, 
which was exhibited in the Paris Salon of 1867 
and again at the Centennial of 1876. Johnson 
knew just how to picture the shiftless sur- 
roundings of the slave, and yet retain that 
picturesque quality that was the charm of the 
slave quarters. Time may come and time may 
go, but the glamour of Uncle Remus and Bre'r 
Rabbit, the strumming of the banjo and the 
dancing of the cake-walk, the cheer of the wide 
fireplace and the odour of the hoe-cake will 
still hang over those ramshackle cabins. 

As a portrait painter, Mr. Johnson was a 
man of no mean merit. His good taste and 
fine judgment made a place for him among 
the young men of genius, and his knowledge of 
modern methods kept him in touch with their 
plan of work in any particular line. 

The most striking thing about Elihu Vedder 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 75 

(1836-) is that he is a man of ideas. He 
is perfectly independent in his choice of sub- 
jects, rather whimsical at times, but truthful 
in his mode of presentation and ideal in mo- 
tive. The material which he gathered from 
the old Italian masters has served him merely 
as suggestions in working out his composi-' 
tions, with no hint of the counterfeit in the 
manner of work. In "The Sphinx" (Eig. 42), 
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, a subject used 
by several older artists, he is unique in his 
idea of infinity in the vastness of the outlying 
desert and of unsatisfied questionings in the 
silent, mysterious watcher that so long defied 
the inquisitive excavator. The riddle of the 
Sphinx is one of the myths of Ancient Greece. 
The Sphinx, a monster with a lion's body 
and the upper part a woman, crouched on top 
of a rock on a highroad of Thebes and stopped 
every traveller to solve her riddle and if the 
answer was not correct she killed the victim. 
The king and queen of Thebes, Laius and Jo- 
casta, had one son, but an oracle prophesying 
that he was dangerous to the throne, Laius left 
him on Mount Cithaeron with feet pierced and 
tied together. A herdsman of Corinth found 
the child and took him to king Polybus, who 
adopted him and, because of his swollen feet, 
called him QEdipus. 



76 AMERICAN PICTURES 

When CEdipus was grown he met Laius in 
a narrow road on his way to Delphi. Neither 
would give place to the other and CEdipus 
killed Laius, not knowing that he was his 
father. The Sphinx was afflicting the country 
at the time with her riddle. CEdipus, nothing 
daunted, went to hear the riddle. She said: 
"What is that which in the morning goes on 
four feet, at noon on two, and in the evening 
on three?" CEdipus answered, "man, who in 
childhood creeps on hands and knees, in man- 
hood walks erect, and in old age with the aid 
of a staff." The Sphinx was so angry at his 
wisdom that she threw herself from the rock 
and died. The people of Thebes were so grate- 
ful that they made CEdipus their king and he 
married Jocasta, not knowing that she was his 
own mother. A terrible pestilence and fam- 
ine soon overtook Thebes and when CEdipus 
learned from the oracle what he had done, he 
put out his own eyes and wandered forth at- 
tended by no one but his daughter Antigone. 

Another example of Mr. Vedder's peculiarly 
original work is "Lazarus," in the Museum of 
Fine Arts, Boston. It is a weird, strange pic- 
ture full of miraculous spirit. Mr. Vedder al- 
ways gives the impression of invisible powers 
stirring in the garments and of mysterious 
happenings among surrounding objects. A 




Fig. 40 — The Fuller Boy. Fuller. Courtesy of the City Art Museum, St. Louis. 



|W 



Fig. 41 — The Old Kentucky Home. Johnson. The Public Library, New York 

City. 




Fig. 42 — The Sphinx. Vedder. Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 77 

swish of wings is heard in the swirling drap- 
ery. 

The friendship of Elihu Vedder and Charles 
Caryl Coleman (1840) is that where two 

"Great souls by instinct to each other turn, 
Demand alliance, and in friendship burn." 

One of Mr. Coleman's earliest paintings is 
that of Mr. Vedder in his (Coleman's) studio 
in New York City. To-day these two artists 
are living within a stone's throw of each other 
at Capri, Italy. Wonderful old villas these two 
men have chosen as their homes — snuggling 
against the steep hills, smothered with vines 
heavy with luscious fruit, with wide windows 
for peep-holes sweeping the Bay where to a see 
Naples and die" means to live in God's Para- 
dise. 

Mr. Coleman is so intimate with old Vesu- 
vius that its travails of pain are choicest mo- 
ments of inspiration to him. Just let the old 
giant begin to belch forth and Mr. Coleman is 
ready with canvas and brush to record her con- 
vulsions. His series of paintings of the last 
great eruption when the vomitings continued 
for days is a historic record of untold value. 
In fact, not since the younger Pliny's time has 
there been so vivid a picture given of Vesuvius 
in action. 



78 AMERICAN PICTURES 

But Mr. Coleman records things near his 
studio door with equal skill. "The Oil Miir 
(Fig. 43) has stood its ground against the 
powers of Old Vesuvius since the year One 
(A.D.) and is still pouring out pure, unadul- 
terated olive oil — a rebuke to volcanic spite. 
The charm of Mr. Coleman's pictures is the 
warm, personal note that like a gold thread 
binds them to us. Rich in colour, the old walls 
and stone jars and brick-paved floors glow 
under his brush. Again and again he lets us 
look into some workshop and beyond to the 
sunlit court giving glimpses of private affairs 
as intimate as the Little Masters of Holland. 





Fig. 43 — The Oil Wells. Coleman. Courtesy of the Artist. 



CHAPTER VIII 
LA FARGE— RYDER 

JOHN LA FARGE (1835-1910) stands 
alone in the modern art world — a painter, 
a mural decorator, a discoverer of the adapt- 
ability of opaline glass, and a writer. Yet he 
entered his career under protest, for, as he said, 
"No one has struggled more against his destiny 
than I ; nor did I for many years acquiesce in 
being a painter, though I learned the methods 
and studied the problems of my art. I had 
hoped to find some other mode of life, some 
other way of satisfying the desire for a con- 
templation of truth, unbiased, free, and de- 
tached." 

La Farge was a dreamer and a student, and 
these opposite qualities gave him the double 
power of one "who not only sees the world as 
a pageant of coloured light, but has found 
means to express his visions." One character- 
istic of his art was the pose or gesture of his 
figures. Although he had made a special study 
of anatomy, he never allowed his scientific 

79 



80 AMERICAN PICTURES 

knowledge to interfere with the significance 
of the emotion he wished to express. This 
thought is admirably brought out in "Adora- 
tion" (Fig. 44), Institute of Arts and Sci- 
ences, Brooklyn. The pose of the figure to 
the minutest details is suggestive of the most 
exalted worship of a Higher Being. The 
elongated body is in perfect harmony with the 
uplift of the soul, as expressed in the shining 
face. Our eyes follow easily and naturally 
the long folds of the white robe from the ex- 
tended foot to the raised hands — the hands 
alone express adoration — and the lifted head. 
The stained glass window from this painting is 
in the Church of the Paulist Fathers, Colum- 
bus Avenue and Fifty-ninth Street, New 
York City. 

It has been my good fortune while gathering 
personal incidents about Mr. La Farge and 
his "Adoration" to find that Mrs. J. Hunger- 
ford Milbank, founder of the International 
Order of Military Women (to develop mental 
and physical poise — the fundamentals toward 
world peace), New York City, when a girl 
posed to the artist for his "Adoration" and 
"St. John," in the Cathedral. One day, in a 
reminiscent mood, Mrs. Milbank said, "Men- 
tally I see again the studio in Tenth Street, 
and the thin, rather bent genius, which was 




Fig. 44 — Adoration. La Farge. Courtesy of the Institute 
of Arts and Sciences, Brooklyn. 




Fig. 45— The Wolf Charmer. 



La Farge. Courtesy of the City Art Museum, 
St. Louis. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 81 

John La Farge. La Farge liked to take 
down my hair and arrange it himself. He 
made a delightful play of it, first carefully re- 
moving my sailor hat, then drawing out the 
pins one by one, and watching the light in each 
part of the sunny mass as it fell over my shoul- 
ders. How well I remember sitting upon a 
low stool while he bent above me, his thin face 
seeming to fill out and grow radiant with the 
joy of the task. As my sittings wer'e not 
paid affairs, the conversation often took a 
friendly turn. I tried to justify my neglect of 
my art (he had chided her with fatherly se- 
verity for not pursuing it), saying that I was 
growing within to greater things by my studies 
in Greek philosophy." Much discussion fol- 
lowed. Then Mrs. Milbank again gave a word 
picture, as she said, "Like a beacon light which 
has not dimmed through the years is the inci- 
dent of his quietly leaving his easel and, palette 
on thumb, coming to stand beside me. For a 
moment he rested his hand upon my head, look- 
ing down into my face, and there was silence 
— then came his strongly prophetic words: — 
'Yours is more than art. You shall make good 
citizens/ " What a tribute to the reclaiming 
power of women — a power that begins at the 
cradle but never ends. 

In an interview some years ago Mr. La 



82 AMERICAN PICTURES 

Farge gave "The Wolf Charmer" (Fig. 45), 
City Art Museum, St. Louis, as his repre- 
sentative picture. He said: "The picture I 
have chosen for you interests me, perhaps, 
as much from associations of travel and read- 
ing as for special artistic success — I made it 
to be one of a series of some hundred subjects 
more or less fantastic and imaginary. This 
one, of course, was based on the superstition, 
a European belief, which I came across in 
Brittany, where I spent some time in my early 
youth.' , Mr. La Farge never carried out his 
plan of making these books for young people. 
The were-wolf, supposed to be a man, was 
usually like a wolf, but sometimes like a white 
dog or black goat, and again it was an invisi- 
ble being roaming about devouring infants. 
The term bug-wolf instead of bug-bear is used 
in France, and scarcely a century ago even the 
men with bagpipes and hurdy-gurdies were 
thought to be conjurers. La Farge takes 
Goethe's "Gipsy Song" to explain his Wolf- 
Charmer. He says: "The gipsy has killed, 
you know, the black cat of the village witch, 
and outside in the night, with the call of the 
owl, he is attacked by wolves. But he knows 
them; they are the women of the village and 
he calls them and insults them by name — 
'Kate/ 'Anna' and 'Bee/ The poem and its 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 83 

meaning of the tamer of the real wolf and 
the man-wolf gave me my subject." 

Looking at the picture, we see that down 
through the forest defile glides the wolf- 
charmer. He gnaws at his bag-pipe, sending 
out weird, persuasive calls, until the real wolves 
steal out and follow him. His bent body and 
bowed head, his cautious step and gripping 
hands are in perfect harmony with his evil- 
looking companions. The strange note of sym- 
pathy in the wild music and the charmer's wolf- 
like face have subdued the ravenous beasts 
until unafraid they swing along the narrow 
defile as docile as dogs following their mas- 
ter. 

As a church mural painter John La Farge 
was an epoch maker in American art. None 
knew better than he the religious value of 
colour. His glorious altarpiece in the Church 
of the Ascension, New York City, is a har- 
mony of colour that plays upon our Heart 
strings like strains from the immortal Bach on 
the great organ. And in the decoration of 
public buildings his keen insight and sympa- 
thetic understanding led him beyond the ap- 
pearance of things to the underlying essentials. 
We feel the bigness of his visions even in the 
minutest details, for he never sacrificed art 
principles to gain an appearance. Composi- 



84 AMERICAN PICTURES 

tion, drawing, handling and even colour were 
his means to an end — and that end was to un- 
derstand the spiritual significance of life. 

The opalescent tone of the painting of "The 
Halt of the Wise Men" (Fig. 46), Museum of 
Fine Arts, Boston, has the same jewel-like 
quality of La Farge's stained glass windows. 
Prismatic colours were to him the strings from 
which he drew the most exquisite harmony. 
He interpreted nature through his colour 
sense, and whether he wrote with pen or with 
brush the same vision of delicate shimmering 
colour rises before us. Look at the blending 
tints hovering over the level plain beyond the 
Wise Men and their attendants and note the 
subdued glory gathered into the equipment of 
the little company in the foreground. Now 
listen to his colour scheme in his "Letters from 
Japan" : "Our rooms open on the water — that 
same blue water spangled with sunshine and 
fading into sky . . . The still heat of the sun 
burned across our way, spotted by the flight of 
many yellow butterflies. . . . The heated hills 
on each side wore a thin interlacing of violet 
in the green of their pines ... A vivid 
green against the background of violet 
mountains . . . except where the sun struck 
in the emerald hollow above the fall. ... A 
rosy bloom, pink as the clouds themselves, 




Fig. 46 — The Halt of the Wise Men. La Farge. Courtesy of the Museum 
of Fine Arts, Boston. 




Fig. 47— The Waste of Waters. Ryder. Courtesy 
of the Institute of Arts and Sciences, Brooklyn. 




>> . 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 85 

filled the entire air . . . the spray, the waves, 
the boat, the bodies of the men glistening and 
suffused with pink." 

John La Farge is rightly called the Nestor 
of our painters. His chief characteristic was 
"to do" modified by "to know." He had a 
"nervous activity, unappeased by any effort, 
unsatisfied by any experience, and seeking and 
seeking again." His insatiable desire to know 
led to his marvellous discoveries in stained 
glass — he was the inventor of modern stained 
glass windows and, by a process entirely orig- 
inal, he made that material as subservient to 
his needs as were the pigments on his palette. 

It is not surprising that the opalescent qual- 
ity of his glass is reminiscent of Japan; of 
its marvellous works of art and most of all 
of its colour harmony in nature. We feel 
this to be specially true when Mr. La Farge 
wrote, as he so often did, of drifting out into 
the hazy moonlight into a far off ocean with 
no shore nor sky; and when he said, "We 
were the centre of a globe of pearl; no edges 
nor outlines of anything visible, except a faint 
circular light above from which the pearly 
colour flowed tremulously, and a few wrinkles 
of silver and dark below." The trembling, iri- 
descent tones hovering over that fairy land 
took possession of the artist's soul and, later, 



86 AMERICAN PICTURES 

when conquering the material means of opera- 
tion, a glorious colour harmony was working 
itself out in the laboratory of his brain. 

Our first impression on seeing a collection 
of Albert P. Ryder's (1847) pictures is that 
an exquisite colour scheme has been carried 
to the nth power of perfection. It seems 
as though all nature had been put under bond 
to contribute to her wealth. The very small- 
ness of the pictures enhances their gem-like 
qualities. That tiny canvas picturing a wo- 
man in red walking down an avenue of yellow 
autumn-coloured trees is a veritable carbuncle 
set in Etruscan gold. Each dainty creation 
is a revelation in the jewel-like quality of pig- 
ments and of the artist's deep sense of the value 
of colour in interpreting his theme. It is im- 
possible to give an adequate idea of the beauty 
of Mr. Ryder's pictures in a black and white 
reproduction, for so much of their real sig- 
nificance lies in the harmony of the colour 
tone ; yet the underlying thought is still there, 
even in a half-tone. No one can mistake the 
meaning of "The Waste of Water Is Their 
Field" (Fig. 47), Institute of Arts and Sci- 
ences, Brooklyn. That vigorous scene tells 
the life-story of those toilers of the sea in a 
simple straightforward manner. To those 
men the scudding clouds and rolling waters 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 87 

present as many moods to be reckoned with as 
the changing temper of a mob swayed by the 
impulse of the moment. Strong and alert, 
they humour and coax the elements, but never 
lose control in holding in leash the power that 
might bring destruction. 

Then turn to the quiet, restful scene "In the 
Stable'' (Fig. 48), where the colourful shad- 
ows are "like a vibrant music string." Po- 
etic? Yes, with much of emotional imagin- 
ings, yet it stirs old memories of feeding time, 
of the favourite white horse so gentle and 
trustworthy, of the biddy that came with her 
chicks to the feast. Just such scenes shape 
themselves in the blazing logs at the rest time 
of the tired business man — scenes from the dim 
and shadowy past when life was all in the fu- 
ture. Mr. Ryder touches nature so tenderly 
and reverently that the rough places smooth 
out and life ceases to be all grind. 



CHAPTER IX 
WHISTLER 

"^"O greater genius has arisen in the art 
world since Rembrandt than James Ab- 
bott McNeill Whistler (1834- 1903), but to 
separate the artist from the man, bristling with 
eccentricities and constantly at variance with 
the painter and the philistine alike, is not an 
easy task to-day. The time will come when 
Whistler, the great master, will fulfil his own 
words in the world's estimate of his works of 
art. "A work of art," said he, "should appear 
to the painter like a flower — perfect in its bud- 
ding as in its flowering, with no reason to ex- 
plain its presence and without need of beauti- 
fying it — a joy for the artist, an illusion for 
the philanthrope, an enigma for the botanist, 
an accident of sentiment and of alliteration for 
the man of letters." 

Whistler was born in Lowell, Mass., and 
died in Chelsea, England, and was buried in 
Chiswick graveyard beside his mother; but 
who can say to what country belongs his art? 

88 



AMERICAN PICTURES 89 

Except for a short time in Gleyre's studio, he 
learned from all painters, especially from the 
Japanese artist, Hokusai (died the middle of 
the nineteenth century), who impressed him 
as a man of god-like qualities. One time 
Whistler said, with that superior air so char- 
acteristic of him, "Yes, there is Velasquez, 
Hokusai, and — myself." No two artists in- 
fluenced him more than these two, but even the 
bias from them was purely Whistler when it 
appeared on Whistler's canvases. 

The one thing that he excelled in above all 
others in his painting was the "maximum effect 
with the minimum of effort," but that effort 
was "the result of the studies of a lifetime," 
as he himself said. 

As we stop before Giovanni Boldini's "Por- 
trait of Whistler" (Fig. 49), Institute of Arts 
and Sciences, Brooklyn, I hear you exclaim, 
"So that is Whistler!" Yes, "the Whistler 
whom the world knew and feared." We 
find as we compare it with the portrait of 
his mother, the same flat cheeks and hollow 
temples; the frontal bone has the same curve 
over the eyes; the wrinkle that begins at the 
base of the nose and drops to the chin is there ; 
the mouth is the same, only the son smiles half 
contemptuously, half kindly, but the mother's 
mouth expresses no transient emotion, only the 



9 o AMERICAN PICTURES 

habitual control of years. We feel like asking, 
"Was this the true Whistler?'' Probably not 
the one his mother knew, but the one Boldini 
knew. Whistler himself said of it, "They say 
it looks like me, but I hope I don't look like 
that!" 

Mr. and Mrs. Pennell, in mentioning this 
portrait in their biography of the artist, say 
that "it is, however, a wonderful presentment 
of him in his very worst mood, and Mr. Ken- 
nedy (who went with Whistler to Boldini's 
studio) remembers that he was in his worst 
mood all the while he posed. It is the Whistler 
whom the world knew and feared." Whistler 
hated posing and took little naps in between. 
But Boldini caught him in his waking moment 
with photographic exactness, so like him that 
Mrs. Pennell says: "You might be looking at 
Mr. Whistler's reflection in the glass as he 
sits there, his right elbow on the back of his 
chair, his head resting on the extended fingers 
of the hand, the other hand holding his hat on 
his knee ... in this sort of achievement no 
one can be compared to M. Boldini." 

If Whistler had painted but the one picture, 
"My Mother" (Fig. 50), in the Luxembourg, 
Paris, his fame would have gone down to pos- 
terity as surely as that of the author of the 
"Elegy." He says: "Take the picture of 




From a Thistle Print. Copyright, Detroit Publishing Co. 

Fig. 49 — Portrait of Whistler. Boldini. Courtesy of the Institute 
of Arts and Sciences, Brooklyn. 



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Fig. 50 — My Mother. Whistler. Luxembourg, Paris. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 91 

my mother, exhibited at the Royal Academy 
as an ' Arrangement in Grey and Black/ Now 
that is what it is. To me it is interesting as a 
picture of my mother; but can or ought the 
public care about the identity of the portrait?" 
We feel like protesting and saying, "What does 
the public care about the picture as an 'Ar- 
rangement in Grey and Black' compared to its 
interest in the picture as a portrait of a 
mother — the type of true motherhood?" The 
mother element is strong in that calm, force- 
ful old lady quietly meditating as she sits with 
folded hands. Her peace has come through 
mental and spiritual discipline, for to her life 
means eternity. 

It was my good fortune several years ago to 
Hear Mr. John White Alexander say in sub- 
stance, holding a letter from Whistler in his 
hand, "Whistler told his mother upon leaving 
America that he would come home to her when 
he had made a success, but," Mr. Alexander 
added, "success financially did not come and 
that kept him from returning to America." 
Fortunately, his mother went to him, which 
softens a little the pathos of unappreciated 
genius. 

It was twenty years after Whistler painted 
his mother's picture before he found a pur- 
chaser, and then the French nation bought it, 



92 AMERICAN PICTURES 

though it was offered to America for twelve 
hundred dollars. It seems incredulous that we 
should have been so purblind to the value of a 
great masterpiece. 

In "At the Piano" (Fig. 51), owned by Ed- 
mund Davis, Whistler has given a touch of 
home life that speaks volumes. That idea was 
probably the farthest from his mind — as "an 
arrangement" in a particular colour was para- 
mount with him — but could anything speak 
more eloquently for sympathy between mother 
and daughter than this, — the child held spell- 
bound not alone by the music but by the mother 
as well? And it is a lovely picture. Every 
line in the composition, every colour element, 
every gradation of tone are perfect. The 
music itself could not soothe us with a more 
harmonious melody than does this picture. As 
we look at the mother and child we feel the 
spirit of Whistler in them and rightly so, for 
the mother is Mrs. Seymour Haden, Whistler's 
sister. As Whistler often used this little niece 
in his pictures there must have been a bond 
of sympathy between the uncle and niece. 

Look at [the folded arms of the "Black- 
smith of Lyme Regis" (Fig. 52), Museum of 
Fine Arts, Boston. Was ever a smithy more 
sure of his strength? We could say of this 
man, 




Fig. 52 — The Blacksmith of Lyme Regis. Whistler. Courtesy of the Museum 
of Fine Arts, Boston. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 93 

"He earns whate'er he can ; 
And looks the whole world in the face, 
For he owes not any man." 

It is possible, however, as we study care- 
fully the sideways glance of the master smith's 
eyes that Whistler is also peering out of those 
pupils and with that baffling hint of mysterious 
understanding that held his creditors at bay. 
The closer we observe the works of the master 
painter the more convinced we are that in each 
work he has left a vital, living part of himself. 

In his "Study in Rose and Brown" (Fig. 
53), Gallery of Fine Arts, Muskegon, Mich., 
we feel that little Rose's calm rebellion — will 
deny no one that she has pitted herself against 
the whole world — has a suggestion of a child 
understanding far beyond her years. Back of 
those eyes of the blacksmith's daughter is an 
uncanny spirit of mocking self-assurance that 
only love and faith could conquer. She is as 
individual a personality, with her searching 
eyes of almost uncanny intelligence, as the 
artist himself. Now look at her hands and see 
if we can rid ourselves of her influence as a 
living power. Such a child lives as does 
Maggie Tolliver and Little Nell. 

Whistler, in his "Gentle Art of Making 
Enemies," said, "As music is the poetry of 
sound, so is painting the poetry of sight, and 



94 AMERICAN PICTURES 

the subject matter has nothing to do with har- 
mony of sound or colour/' He no doubt gave 
here the keynote to his religion in art. But 
when we come to consider the portraits of his 
"Mother," "Carlyle," "Little Rose of Lyme 
Regis," and "The Master Smith of Lyme 
Regis/' we are not sure that he told the whole 
truth of his religion. Truly the character of 
his sitters as the "subject matter'' is just as 
important in these pictures as is his "harmony 
of colour." We admit that not often was 
Whistler interested in people per se, but when 
he was who could or did show greater insight 
into their character? 

The "Portrait of Sarasate" (Fig. 54), Car- 
negie Institute, Pittsburgh, compels our at- 
tention, and no wonder, for it is one of Whis- 
tler's character sketches. Possibly the eminent 
Spanish violinist may be remembered quite as 
well through this representation of him as by 
his own wonderful career. I well remember 
the impression the portrait made when it was 
first exhibited in New York City about the 
year Whistler died, 1903. The picture was 
hung in the corner of a long room opposite 
an entrance door. I hesitated at the doorway 
because the presence of the master violinist 
was so intimate and warm and his eloquent 
eyes and melancholy face were so instinct with 




From a Thistle Print. Copyright, Detroit Publishing Co. 

Fig. 53 — Study in Rose and Brown. Whistler. Courtesy of the Gal- 
lery of Fine Arts, Muskegon, Michigan. 




Copyright, Carnegie Institute. 

Fig. 54 — Portrait of Sarasate 



Whistler. Courtesy of the 
Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 95 

life that I waited, hoping to hear again his in- 
terpretation of the mighty Beethoven. From 
Sarasate's physique and carriage, as Whistler 
portrays him, one might almost think it a por- 
trait of the master painter himself in the guise 
of a master violinist. Sarasate and Joachim 
were dividing honours when the twentieth cen- 
tury opened — Sarasate died in 1908 — and 
musical critics agree that "they w r ill hold their 
places in the annals of violin playing as the 
representatives of certain elemental excellen- 
cies in art." 

Of Whistler's portrait rules "an arrange- 
ment" came first, then later the individual's 
personality. "In the Studio" (Fig. 55), Art 
Institute, Chicago, is merely "an arrangement" 
pure and simple, only that the Whistler per- 
sonality in his own figure is so compelling that, 
after all, it is a portrait too. Though basically 
American, was ever an artist more cosmo- 
politan than Whistler? Unique to the point 
of being eccentric as an individual, he never 
dropped to the vulgar to express his desire for 
something new in his art. Egotistic he was in 
the extreme, but always holding to a definite 
idea of wholesome beauty. We may not agree 
personally with his ideas of what is beautiful 
and attractive, but we always feel the sweet 
purity of his artistic conceptions. That many 



96 AMERICAN PICTURES 

of his themes were mere personal expressions 
of some abstract ideas floating in his fertile 
brain is undoubtedly true, and when extreme 
Whistlerians are ecstatically enthusiastic over 
his symphonies we feel like tapping our fore- 
heads with a sly grin. There really is not 
much that we can say of "In His Studio," and 
he himself challenging us in a rather contemp- 
tuous manner — but is it contemptuous or only 
a challenge by one who is sure of himself? 

A most illusive portrait by Whistler is the 
"Lady with the Yellow Buskin" (Fig. 56), 
Wilstach Gallery, Philadelphia. She turns as 
she passes, seemingly to glance at us, but where 
she is going or where she came from are en- 
tirely beyond our knowledge. Her person- 
ality is tantalising. She uses no art to draw 
us, yet we would follow, if only to solve her 
identity. Certainly Whistler has here brought 
together simplicity and skill in the most per- 
fect manner. 

Yes, Mr. John C. Van Dyke is right, "It is 
the maximum of effect with the minimum of 
effort" that places Whistler among the great 
portrait painters of the world. The myste- 
rious essence we call personal charm that hov- 
ers around his people is of the spirit, for it is 
rarely that he represents beautiful women or 
handsome men. In fact, the reverse is so 




r 






I 





Fig. 57 — Connie Gilchrist. Whistler. Courtesy of the Met- 
ropolitan Museum of Art. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 97 

prominent that we almost feel an impatience 
at his perverseness, then we smile for we know 
that he has made us admire his people in spite 
of ourselves. 

The portrait of "Connie Gilchrist" (Fig, 
57), Metropolitan Museum of Art, is one of 
Whistler's rare examples of a figure in motion. 
Connie Gilchrist was a popular dancer at the 
Gaiety in London in 1876. She is represented 
as on the stage with a skipping rope. Whistler 
has caught her just as she flutters light as a 
feather over the gleaming footlights. Her 
mellow brownish-yellow costume shimmers 
and twinkles like a butterfly in the sun. A 
colour poem the painting certainly is! It re- 
minds us of the Jersey meadows in the fall 
when the grasses and sedges are flaunting their 
feathery tops, catching every golden ray until 
they vie with the topaz in gradation of colour. 

Whistler, the etcher, is as distinctive a term 
as Whistler, the painter. "With the etching 
needle in hand he draws as only Rembrandt 
had drawn before him. . . ." writes Mr. Cor- 
tissoz. Whistler wrote on a proof of one of 
Rembrandt's portraits, "Without flaw. Beau- 
tiful as a Greek marble or a canvas by Tin- 
toret. A masterpiece in all its elements, be- 
yond which there is nothing." And to it af- 
fixes his familiar butterfly monogram. "The 



98 AMERICAN PICTURES 

Portrait of Whistler" (Fig. 58), by Thomas 
A. Way, from whom Whistler learned the 
process of lithography, shows the artist in his 
workshop examining his plates. 

One who knew Whistler well in his home 
life says that there, with his beloved Trixie 
(his wife), he found a sanctuary of peace. 
Unfortunately, his "Gentle Art of Making 
Enemies" was so strong in him that much of 
the time enjoyed he had little peace in the 
world. But even his most acrimonious attacks 
on the public do not acquit that public of its 
cruel neglect of one who will be remembered 
long after many of the public favourites are 
forgotten. 



CHAPTER X 

HOVENDEN— MOSLER— MILLET— 
DUVENECK— THAYER 

P OSSIBLY no picture has ever come closer 
to the hearthstone of our native Ameri- 
can home than "Breaking Home Ties" (Fig. 
59), by Thomas Hovenden (1840-1895) and 
owned by Mr. Charles C. Harrison, of Phila- 
delphia. The spirit of the true pioneer is in 
it. The home is that of the typical farmer 
where the family is a unit. Each member, from 
the eldest to youngest, has been part and parcel 
in establishing the community centre — the 
home — and now has come the parting of the 
ways. The same spirit that prompted the par- 
ents to migrate is stirring in the boy. His vis- 
ions are of a world beyond the farm, and the 
courage of youth urges him into the unknown. 
A wise mother is the little woman bidding her 
boy "God Speed/' He does not understand now 
the great heart-love that keeps back the tears, 
but all through the years he will feel the touch 
of those gentle, hard-worked hands and hear 

99 



ioo AMERICAN PICTURES 

the tender words of parting. No obtrusive 
sentimentality mars the quiet reserve of the 
home-people, yet the spirit of sympathetic help- 
fulness is there. Hovenden, with a true artist's 
instinct, has told artistically a story that speaks 
to humanity. 

Thomas Hovenden's death was a tragedy. 
Seeing a child in front of a moving train, he 
jumped and saved its life but he was killed 
instantly. The artist's little son saw the acci- 
dent and, not knowing his father was there, 
ran for a doctor, to find on his return that it 
was his own father. At one time the picture 
was on exhibition in Philadelphia, the pro- 
ceeds being for the benefit of self-supporting 
students of the University of Pennsylvania. 

As a story-teller in art, with pathos the dom- 
inant note, Henry Mosler ( 1841 ) took the pub- 
lic heart by storm in his "Prodigal's Return" 
(Fig. 60), Luxembourg, Paris. It is the old 
familiar story of the erring one's repentance 
coming too late to give joy to the waiting par- 
ent. The artist has put into the kneeling figure 
grief, remorse, despair — forgiveness is beyond 
his reach. Were it not for the beautiful, sym- 
pathetic face of the priest, who stands waiting 
for the first paroxysm to pass, the scene would 
be one of utter despair. But in that face we 
read the comfort that will heal the broken 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 101 

heart of the penitent. Little wonder that we 
linger before this picture in the Luxembourg 
Palace, for in it the artist has proved his artis- 
tic ability as well as his sincerity in dealing 
with a genre subject. 

Another of Mosler's most charming genre 
pictures is "A Wedding Feast in Brittany/' 
Metropolitan Museum of Art. The scene is 
an incident of real life in old France to-day 
and also verifies a bit of history in the white 
sheet hanging in the background. From time 
immemorial in Brittany the bride spins and 
weaves a sheet which is used on all special 
occasions, whether of joy or sorrow. 

Henry Mosler was born in New York City, 
but spent his childhood in Cincinnati, Ohio, 
where he had his first lessons in art. He went 
to Europe and studied in Diisseldorf, Munich, 
and Paris. That his work has been greatly 
appreciated, his medals and honours — nearly 
a score of them — from the art societies of 
Europe and America will testify. 

Francis Davis Millet (1846-1912) had un- 
usual talents in many directions. What is most 
unusual, he cultivated each talent to the point 
of a trained professional. Whatever came to 
his hand was done with the whole-heartedness 
of one who loved his work. It mattered little 
whether he was acting as a war corre- 



102 AMERICAN PICTURES 

spondent, illustrating, writing fiction, travel 
and criticism, judging old pictures, raising 
carnations or amputating an arm; he did each 
with rare excellence. And he was an artist. 
His portraits alone give him a place of honour. 
Bayard Taylor, in 1878, said of Millet's por- 
traits of Charles Francis Adams and Mark 
Twain: "The figures are solid, they detach 
themselves immediately from the background, 
and are a refreshing contrast to the dim, va- 
pory forms which some portraits give us." 

In genre painting Millet strikes a personal 
note that is most convincing. We feel in "The 
Cosy Corner" (Fig. 61), Metropolitan Mu- 
seum of Art, the touch of one who loved that 
particular room. Special memories cluster 
around that fireside and that special corner. 
Possibly the home-warmth of "The Cosy Cor- 
ner" helped comfort Millet as he stood on the 
sinking deck of the fated Titanic — such holy 
memories bring us close to the Eternal Home. 

Frank Duveneck was born across the Ohio 
River in Covington, Ky. (1848), but Cincin- 
nati is the proud owner of a large number of 
his works. Mr. Duveneck, as an instructor 
in the Art Academy of Cincinnati, has trained 
and influenced numberless students of the 
Middle West who now stand as masters in 
the modern art of America. 



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QS 



3 .3 

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Fig. 64 — Portrait of Young Woman. Thayer. Courtesy of the Metro- 
politan Museum of Art. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 103 

It is no easy task to select special pictures 
to illustrate his work from among the many 
fine examples in the museum. Probably the 
most popular picture is the "Whistling Boy" 
(Fig. 62), selected by the artist himself as 
one of his gifts to the museum. The painting 
is signed with Duveneck's unique monogram, 
followed by "Munich, 1872." This little fel- 
low is a German and he is the type of a 
whistling boy of any country or any clime. 
How naturally a poet, a musician or an artist 
drops into simple, direct and regular metre, 
rhythm or line when picturing the elemental 
in life. No one is interested specially in any- 
thing about this boy but the puckered red lips 
and the tune that comes from them. The boy's 
listless attitude and dreamy eyes give the char- 
acter of the music he is remembering and softly 
reproducing. We could never tire of that boy. 
His mellow whistle is of one already compre- 
hending the philosophy of living. The sketch 
of the boy's clothes proves that Mr. Duveneck 
understands impressionism, even in the ex- 
treme, but that he is master of it. 

And that the artist could master details 
broadly, the "Flower Girl" (Fig. 63) is ample 
proof. Here again Mr. Duveneck chooses a 
typical figure from a typical class, only this 
time the class is confined to sunny Italy and 



104 AMERICAN PICTURES 

the city where flowers that bloom in profusion 
give it its name. We will admit that the ma- 
jority of the artist's subjects are from foreign 
parts, but we are conscious that Frank Duve- 
neck never loses his own identity in any of 
them. The flower girl is decidedly an Italian 
young woman, with all the characteristics of 
her race, yet we see her sitting on the wall 
through the eyes of Duveneck, the American 
artist. 

It is of little consequence whether Albert H. 
Thayer (1849) P uts wings on his women or 
not, for their purity envelopes them with invis- 
ible wings. "The Portrait of a Young Woman" 
(Fig. 64), Metropolitan Museum of Art, has 
an element of sacredness that grips our hearts. 
Her thoughtful, mature expression marks her 
innocence as that of knowledge — she is in the 
world but not of it. Such a woman exempli- 
fies Michael Angelo's answer to the critics of 
Rome that the Virgin was too young in his 
Pieta. "Don't you know," he said, "that chaste 
women keep their youthful looks much longer 
than others." Mr. Thayer's large conception 
of womanhood lifts us from petty things into 
an atmosphere of truth — possibly ideal, but al- 
ways wholesome. His high standard is good, 
for he represents the sacredness of her mission 
in America. 



CHAPTER XI 

ROBINSON— HARRISON— BRUSH— 
MELCHERS— MARR— TANNER 

[" T seems a great pity that Theodore Robin- 
son's (1852-1896) career was cut short at 
forty- four. He was one of the men who, under 
the influence of his personal friend Claude 
Monet in Paris, grasped the underlying prin- 
ciples in the new movement — the effect of light 
and air gained through light shadows and 
bright colours — without losing the qualities 
that make a pleasing picture. He had the com- 
mon sense to understand that many old art ten- 
ets still held good even if new ones were being 
discovered, and his originality taught him how 
to combine the new and the old to advantage. 
"In the Sun" (Fig. 65) gives no evidence 
of a struggle between contending factions; 
rather it breathes contentment and satisfac- 
tion. It is a veritable lyric of light. 

When Thomas Alexander Harrison (1853) 
painted "Castles in Spain" (Fig. 66), Metro- 
politan Museum of Art, he proved not only his 

105 



io6 AMERICAN PICTURES 

originality in dealing with scenes in the full 
sunlight but his understanding of boy-nature 
as well. This picture grips us with its in- 
vigorating salt air, its vitalising sun bath, its 
wholesome boy life, and its intimation of the 
great expanse of water and sky. The big out- 
of-doors is ours and all our dreams are 
realised in the shell castle on the sand. 

Mr. Harrison studied with Gerome in 
Paris, but his work is far beyond the lessons 
of any teacher. He sees nature with perceiv- 
ing eyes and helps us to see her, too. Big 
enough in himself to profit by the eccentric 
methods of those artists in Paris who were 
evolving a new art in their close study of 
nature, he never loses his sense of proportion. 
To him, as to all heart artists, a picture must 
reach the heart of the people. Never should 
that mean lowering of ideals, however, but 
rather lifting the people to higher planes. 

When George DeForest Brush (1855) first 
began his art career he painted many pictures 
of the American Indian — pictures that sug- 
gest curious tales without spoiling their artistic 
nature. Later he became more and more in- 
terested in home scenes and the people around 
him. Once he remarked to a friend : "I shall 
never be satisfied until I am admired by the 
people of Cherry Hill," meaning his neigh- 



1 5 



AND THEIR PAINTERS loy 

bours. The quiet content of "Mrs. Brush 
Reading to her Children" (Fig. 67) is a never- 
to-be-forgotten picture. The peace of this 
home dwells in the mother-authority. She 
guides and regulates the household with the 
steady hand of one whose idea of love is Serv- 
ice—service from both parents and children. 
The intensely human element in these mother- 
pictures is a quality belonging peculiarly to 
Mr. Brush. He has developed a mother-atmos- 
phere entirely distinct from any external come- 
liness. His heart warmth overbalances mere 
beauty of person until, like Rembrandt's "Old 
Woman Cutting Her Nails," the drawing 
quality of his mothers is irresistible. 

Mr. Gari Melchers (i860), born in Detroit, 
had his training in Paris, but, contrary to 
prophecies twenty years ago, he has developed 
an American spirit in his art that even the 
French influence of his early years could not 
obliterate. The "Portrait of Mrs. Melchers" 
is one of his most strikingly characteristic 
works. There is a certain dash in design and 
colour that marks the individuality of the art- 
ist. He knew his model and has dared to run 
the gamut in a dashing colour riot ; yet a cer- 
tain restraint in both model and artists grips 
us. 

"The Communion" (Fig. 68), by Mr. Mel- 



108 AMERICAN PICTURES 

chers, is a marvellous collection of portraits of 
the village people as well as a picture of rare 
excellence. Those earnest people fascinate us 
as people do who believe and live their belief. 
Each individual is a character study and col- 
lectively represents the character of the village. 
Drawn together around the communion table 
of Our Lord as a community centre they never- 
theless represent varied, and probably con- 
tending, interests in their workaday life. Mr. 
Melchers holds firmly to life as it is among 
the fisher-folk and village centres. He never 
strays into sentimental babblings. The joys 
and sorrows portrayed in his pictures are the 
sentiments of a people who consider life worth 
the living. 

"The Fencing Master" (Fig. 69), Museum 
of Art, Detroit, speaks for himself. Like 
Moroni's "Tailor" in the National Gallery, 
London, he has dignified his work. No 
other recommendation is necessary but this 
man to convince one that fencing is the kind 
of exercise to produce men. If those of our 
American young men who slouch along the 
street, with head pushed forward and feet 
shuffling behind, could have the inspiration of 
this portrait, I am sure they would square their 
shoulders and walk like men of affairs — and 




Fig. 67 — Mrs. Brush Reading to Her Children. Brush. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 109 

they soon would be. This fencing master 
never worked for men but with them. 

Mr. Melchers' pictures have a strength and 
virility all their own. The bride in "Mar- 
riage" (Fig. 70), Institute of Arts, Minneap- 
olis, is not one whit less womanly because she 
stands unflinchingly by the side of the man; 
the ceremony is to her a bond that holds for 
life; she sees far beyond the moment and feels 
that her own soul is responsible for the step she 
is taking. Not so the man. To him this is the 
supreme moment; he now possesses what he 
has sought, and cares very little for what the 
future has in store. Mr. Melchers is very de- 
pendent upon the individuality of his subjects, 
as are all true artists, and he never fails to 
make us feel that character is the basis of his 
portraits. One of his most remarkable por- 
traits is that of Dr. William Rainey Harper, 
late President of the University of Chicago. 

Mr. Melchers was accorded unusual honour 
at the Panama-Pacific International Exposi- 
tion (191 5) in having a special gallery set 
apart exclusively for his work. Only a few 
other artists, leaders of various schools, had 
this same privilege given them. Mr. Mel- 
chers is the professor of art in the Academy 
of Weimar, Germany. 

Carl Marr is one of our American artists 



no AMERICAN PICTURES 

who, unrecognised in his own country, went to 
Europe, and by genius and great perseverance 
has won a name for himself. His return to 
this country is looked upon as a national gain. 
Milwaukee, his native city, welcomes his home- 
coming with all the honour due him. She may 
well be proud of her famous son! 

"Silent Devotion" (Fig. 71), Layton Art 
Gallery, Milwaukee, is one of Mr. Marr's 
simpler canvases and possibly for that reason 
one of his most attractive ones. The young 
wife is the very essence of peaceful thinking 
untroubled by doubts. She has listened to the 
World and her mind has wandered on into 
realms of the unreal, yet with no searchings 
for the unanswerable problems. The play of 
light on that woman, unconscious of the world, 
is as beautiful as anything in modern art. 
The mobile pensive face, the shapely arms and 
hands, the expression of perfect ease in the 
supple body are all there, yet the illusive charm 
is the filmy palpitating atmosphere that en- 
velopes the whole. 

One of the first pictures Mr. Marr painted 
that was recognised with a medal by the art 
critics of Germany, was "Ahasuerus, the Wan- 
dering Jew" (Fig. 72). For some years the 
picture found no purchaser, but it was finally 
bought and presented to the Metropolitan Mu- 




X 




AND THEIR PAINTERS in 

seum of Art, New York City. Mr. Marr has 
succeeded in giving just that sense of mystery 
to the desolate scene of rock, sand, water, and 
sky that intensifies the legendary story. What 
a world of despair that crouching figure of the 
old Jew represents! Since he refused rest to 
our Saviour when He was bearing His cross, 
he has wandered over the earth, ever seeking 
death, but never finding it. And yet the wom- 
an, so beautiful and so perfect in her young 
maturity, has been found and snatched from 
life and all its promises. The old, old question 
of why 

"Death aims with fouler spite 
At fairer marks" 

was never more forcefully asked than in this 
painting. 

Mr. Marr's native city was very proud when 
the opportunity came to purchase his master- 
piece, "The Flagellants." The painting is 
gigantic in size and shows the artist's skill in 
filling a large canvas. 

Henry O. Tanner is peculiarly interesting 
as an artist with negro blood in his veins. He 
was born in Pittsburgh and was trained both 
in this country and in Paris. He is a man of 
real talent in painting, and his exalted ideas 
have found expression in his many religious 



ii2 AMERICAN PICTURES 

subjects. His painting of "The Two Disciples 
at the Tomb" (Fig. 73), The Art Institute, 
Chicago, is decidedly original. The disciples 
are undoubtedly Peter and John, who ran 
together to the tomb, and the moment when 
"that other disciple which came first to the 
sepulchre saw and believed." John has the 
vision in his eyes and the calm assurance in 
his face that marked his career as the beloved 
disciple, the St. John of the Revelations and 
the Gospel. The artist has caught the spirit 
of one who "saw and believed." 



. 



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Fig. 72 — The Wandering Jew. Marr. Courtesy of the Metropolitan 
Museum of Art. 




Fig. 73— The Two Disciples at the Tomb. Tanner. 
Courtesy of the Art Institute, Chicago. 



CHAPTER XII 

BECKWITH— CHASE— COX 

TN the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New 
York City, is a portrait of William Merritt 
Chase (1849-1916), by John Singer Sargent, 
presented as a gift from Mr. Chase's pupils "on 
account of his unceasing devotion to American 
students and American art." This tribute to 
Mr. Chase finds a response in the hearts of 
artists and art lovers alike, for his influence 
as an instructor is universal in its appeal. His 
schools in New York City and Shinnecock, 
Long Island, and his travelling classes abroad 
have been most potent features in the progress 
of American art for nearly a half century. To 
have been a member of one of these never-to- 
be-forgotten classes is of itself a guarantee 
that the foundation is true even if the super- 
structure falls. How many of his students 
have been taught to see beauty in the forlorn, 
wind-swept, undulating country of Shinnecock! 
It is the recognising of beauty in just such 
barren wastes that marks Mr. Chase as the 

113 



ii4 AMERICAN PICTURES 

true artist. The spontaneity of his pictures 
is one of their greatest charms. His inspira- 
tion, like the sparkle on champagne, must be 
caught at the moment, and his work is that of 
a trained master, with every faculty under per- 
fect control. 

Now look well at the "Portrait of William 
M. Chase'' (Fig. 74), John Herron Institute, 
Indianapolis, by J. Carroll Beckwith (1852), 
for it is a loving appreciation of a friend 
for a friend. Both men are westerners — 
the West of forty years ago. Mr. Beckwith 
is a native of Missouri and Mr. Chase of 
Franklin, Indiana. Both men went to study 
in Europe at an early age, Mr. Chase to Munich 
and Mr. Beckwith to Carolus Durand, in Paris. 
Mr. Beckwith has painted the portraits of 
many notable persons in Europe, particularly 
several cardinals of Italy. He has exhibited 
in the Paris exhibitions and our own Acad- 
emies. This portrait of Mr. Chase has much 
of the same direct personal element that Mr. 
Chase himself gives to the likenesses of his 
sitters. < 

Naturally Mr. Chase's "Alice" (Fig. 75), 
Art Institute, Chicago, attracts us. She is so 
girlish and wholesome. Like a beautiful cul- 
tivated flower, she is the product of the guid- 
ing and pruning of a wise parent — a beautiful 





3 c3 

2 a 






o 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 115 

cultivated child of nature. She moves with 
the ease and grace of a young fawn in his 
native home, perfectly unconscious of self, 
which is the height of perfected art. Mr. 
Chase commands our admiration and respect 
whatever his subject. It is his dignified reserve 
and moderation and his insistent originality 
that give him the place of honour to-day. 

When Mr. Chase combines portraiture and 
genre painting as in "Alice" and "Dorothy" 
(Pig. 76), Art Institute, Indianapolis, he 
makes pictures that are simply bewitching. 
Alice has a charm all her own as she skips 
away, laughing at her own power to please us ; 
but "Dorothy" has more of the challenge of 
the young miss who feels her power, but wants 
you to know that she feels it. Both have the 
unconscious grace of childhood, with the awak- 
ened conscience of young girlhood just mak- 
ing itself felt. Individually "Alice" and 
"Dorothy" are as distinct in character as the 
two girls must have been in real life. And 
why not? They are Mr. Chase's daughters. 
Mr. Chase never leaves any uncertainty as to 
the personality of his subjects. They demand 
our attention by the force of their presence. 
We could no more ignore "Dorothy," or suc- 
ceed in forgetting her, than we could evade the 



n6 AMERICAN PICTURES 

influence of any strong character that has en- 
tered the room where we are. 

Let us look again at "Dorothy and Her Sis- 
ter" (Fig. 77), this time in a picture that the 
Luxembourg, Paris, has recently acquired. 
Mr. Chase's idea of technique is wonderfully 
verified in this picture. He says: "To my 
mind, one of the simplest explanations of this 
matter of technique is to say that it is eloquence 
of art." And then, amplifying, he pictures 
a great orator holding his audience spell- 
bound. 

Yes, it is the eloquence of his art that is hold- 
ing us before his pictures. Was anything ever 
more ideal than this young girl sitting at ease 
as she listens to the older sister who leans over 
her shoulder? How perfectly they both fit 
into the setting and how exactly the setting- 
fits them ! "But," you may ask, "where is the 
setting? I see nothing but a chair." That is 
just the point. Mr. Chase makes us feel the 
room, the yard, the place, the common every- 
day surroundings in the aliveness of his figures 
and the quivering air that envelopes them. 

It matters not one whit who is this "Lady 
with the White Shawl" (Fig. 78), Pennsyl- 
vania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia; she 
is every inch a woman and a woman gently 
born. Possibly it is the shawl that designates 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 117 

the woman's character, for only one to the 
manner born can wear a shawl characteris- 
tically. Let our friend of the round-shouldered 
type try wearing a shawl and see how it 
bunches around her. It is not surprising that, 
in the Paris Exhibition of 1900, the place of 
honour was given to the "Lady with the White 
Shawl." Mr. Chase's portraits give the en- 
semble of the person. It is pose, natural not 
artificial, that the artist seeks. An amusing 
story is told of his little daughter's understand- 
ing of her father's quickness to catch a subject 
at the right moment. One day as she stood 
by the window looking at the sky, she called, 
"Papa, come quickly! here's a cloud posing 
for you." The aliveness of his figures testify 
to his keenness in grasping individual char- 
acteristics. 

She is certainly a dainty miss sitting "In the 
Studio" (Fig. 79) „ Institute of Arts and Sci- 
ences, Brooklyn, turning the leaves of the 
pattern book. Mr. Chase never gave a more 
personal note to a young woman than he 
has to this one. She simply dominates the 
studio. There are many interesting objects 
around the room that might claim our at- 
tention were it not for her presence. And 
what a picture it is — painted with all the aban- 
don of the painter-artist! The inspiration 



n8 AMERICAN PICTURES 

came suddenly, no doubt ; the girl and the book, 
perhaps, unexpectedly fell into position and the 
picture immediately shaped itself in the artist's 
mind. Mr. Chase's alert artistic sense has 
made him particularly sensitive to the pictorial 
qualities of bits of still life, of dainty interiors, 
of busy back-yards, and monotonous stretches 
of low bushes and sand dunes; he has made 
them all sing under his magic brush. 

Now look at these "Fish" (Fig. 80), Met- 
ropolitan Museum of Art. They may slip out 
of the picture before we have time to examine 
them, for no real fish are more slippery. Fish 
are not usually chosen for drawing room orna- 
ments, excepting goldfish, but we should con- 
sider it a rare privilege to possess Mr. Chase's 
fish. One wonders if the cook, knowing her 
master's propensities to see art in her supplies, 
does not often use subterfuge to hurry her 
fish into the oven and her vegetables into the 
pot before the discerning eyes shall see them. 
Otherwise her meal might be spoiled for lack 
of sufficient cooking. It is laughingly said 
that Mr. Chase's household is ever in a state 
of preparedness that no sudden inspiration 
may be lost or his mood lack a subject. 

Mr. Chase himself says of the elements of a 
great picture : "I maintain that they are three 
in number — namely, truth, interesting treat- 




Fig. 81 — Portrait of Chase. Chase. Courtesy of the Detroit Museum of Art. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 119 

ment and quality." And then he amplifies: 
"By truth I mean that the picture shall give the 
impression of a thing well seen. . . . We must 
add to it (truth) the interest of the artist, and 
an interest which shall express itself in his 
manner of treatment. . . . Quality comes as a 
result of a perfect balance of all the parts and 
may be manifested in colour or line or com- 
position. In the greatest pictures it is found 
in all three, and then you may be sure that you 
are before the most consummate of human 
works." 

Mr. Chase's success as an artist has been 
phenomenal. Even as early as 1869 ( ne was 
then thirty) a St. Louis gentleman said to a 
friend, "Come with me; I have a young man 
who paints so well that I dare not tell him how 
good his work is." The St. Louis people were 
so impressed with his genius that they gave 
him a purse for a long stay in Munich. That 
his early promise has been more than fulfilled 
it is needless to add. 

The last "Portrait of William Merritt 
Chase" (Fig. 81 ) by himself, is one of the cher- 
ished treasures of the Detroit Museum of Art. 
In 191 5, when Mr. Chase was having an exhi- 
bition of his pictures in the museum, the direc- 
tor discussed with him the plan of starting a 
gallery of self-portraits of our American art- 



120 AMERICAN PICTURES 

ists. Mr. Chase was enthusiastic over the idea 
and before leaving Detroit presented his own 
self-portrait that was in his exhibition, saying, 
"I would like to start the gallery of self- 
portraits if you will accept this one of me." 
The museum is doubly proud of owning the 
last likeness made of Mr. Chase and that it is 
a gift from the artist himself. 

Again we see Mr. Chase in the "Portrait of 
Saint Gaudens" (the American sculptor, 1848- 
1907) (Fig. 82), Metropolitan Museum of 
Art, by Kenyon Cox (1856). The figure in 
the bas-relief, that Saint Gaudens is repre- 
sented as working on, is William M. Chase, 
his friend and companion. These two artists 
were about the same age. This painting has 
quite an interesting history. The original pic- 
ture, painted in 1887, was burned in Saint 
Gaudens' studio at Windsor, Vt, in 1904. 
Mr. Cox painted this replica in 1908, a year 
after the sculptor's death, from the studio 
studies he still had. 



CHAPTER XIII 

BLAKELOCK— TRYON— MURPHY- 
WIGGINS— DEWEY 

TIfHEN "The Brook by Moonlight" (Fig. 
* * 83), by Ralph A. Blakelock, sold at auc- 
tion this year (1916) for twenty thousand dol- 
lars the picture-loving public added another 
chapter to the tragedy of artists' lives. It is an 
old, old story, this indifference to workers with 
God-given talents. The workers are not many 
who produce the masterpieces of the world, yet 
far too often their struggle for bare existence 
is more than body or brain can endure; then, 
too late, comes recognition. 

After sixteen years, the cloud being par- 
tially lifted from his distracted mind, Mr. 
Blakelock says of "The Brook by Moonlight" : 
"I remember now how I pondered the trunk of 
that tree for a long time, wondering if I had 
made it thick enough to support all the mass 
of top branches and foliage." Is it not pa- 
thetic that one whose keen common sense kept 
his picture true to nature should have been 

121 



122 AMERICAN PICTURES 

subject to junk dealers? One such dealer 
said to Mr. Daingerfield, when showing him 
thirty-three pictures : "Ralph Blakelock painted 
every one of them, and I got the lot for one 
hundred dollars." Oh, the pity of it ! And we 
must all bear the blame. 

Ralph A. Blakelock (b. 1847) is, or rather 
was, a man of many parts in his art. His in- 
nate love of colour has given him an individual 
command of pigments most characteristic, and 
with no eccentric qualities to mar our pleasure 
in them; then, too, he has a subtle genius for 
leading us by a mysterious hint of untold beau- 
ties. The wonderful light draws us in "Ec- 
stasy" (Fig. 84), though we feel that, like 
Wordsworth's 

"... light that never was on sea or land," 

it is a will-o'-the-wisp that is leading us and 
that in the depths beyond is a world where 
fancy alone can feel at home. Such pictures 
express an exaltation that few of us can at- 
tain, yet it is good for our souls to contem- 
plate the mysteries that haunt these solitudes. 
I once rode alone into the forest primeval above 
El Capitan. The lingering memory of those 
quivering depths of light and shadows is quick- 
ened by this picture of "Ecstasy"; the same 




Fig. 83 — The Brook by Moonlight. Blakelock. 
of Art, Toledo. 



Courtesy of the Museum 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 123 

spirit of solitude draws and repels, while that 
curious feeling of wanting to know but hesi- 
tating to intrude is present. 

Our American landscapists certainly awaken 
a great variety of emotions in us. They seem 
almost to vie with each other in presenting the 
various moods of nature — at times she is 
frankly outspoken, and then shyly reticent, 
and in the latter mood Dwight William Tryon 
(1849) seems to know her best. Like Corot, 
Mr. Tryon thinks it no hardship to be up be- 
fore sunrise to surprise nature as she dons her 
morning dress. We are out-of-doors with her 
"Before Sunrise, June" (Fig. 85), Museum 
of Art, Detroit, but we feel like intruders 
invading a sacred shrine. The hush in the 
air fairly stifles our breath; not even the 
birds are awake. How tenderly he has lifted 
the veil, that we, too, may see the trees all 
shimmering in their early bath and the grass 
still wet with the glistening dew and the flow- 
ers lifting their heads. The sky is beginning 
to smile; all are making ready to greet the 
great orb of day. We linger long before this 
morning anthem. Tenderly and lovingly it has 
lifted our souls into the very presence of the 
Creator and sends us forth stronger men and 
women because of its influence. 

Who can look at Mr. Tryon's "November 



124 AMERICAN PICTURES 

Morning" (Fig. 86), John Herron Art Insti- 
tute, Indianapolis, without feeling the thrill 
of the stiff breeze lifting and swaying the 
tall grass and crisp bushes? Was there ever 
such riot in shades of brown, soft, luscious 
cream tints deepening into glistening chestnut 
and rich seal brown, yet with the summer's 
green still making itself felt ? Everywhere and 
over all hangs a grey tone as elusive as the 
odour of rosemary off the coast of Spain. I 
doubt if many persons could look out on a 
chilly November morning, after seeing his pic- 
ture of it, and grumble, "Oh, what a disagree- 
able morning !" as shivers creep up and down 
the spine. Mr. Tryon has revised Thomas 
Hood's description of "November." Of course 
Hood was correct so far as the mere facts 
are concerned, but his angle of vision saw only 
the drear, and Mr. Tryon is just as correct in 
picturing the cheer. 

Mr. Tryon has a way of arranging his com- 
position that is very pleasing. He uses some 
permanent and familiar landmark, such as a 
row of trees or an old fence, as the sequence 
of long lines, and encloses all between the dis- 
tant sky-line and an intimate bit of dooryard 
or meadow-brook at our very feet. 

When a painter makes "quality" his ideal 
regardless of time, of mental exertion or yearly 




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AND THEIR PAINTERS 125 

output, his pictures are bound to be master- 
pieces. We are not surprised, therefore, to 
learn that Mr. Tryon considers quality the 
sumum bonum of all art. In reply to the in- 
quiry, "How many pictures do you paint in a 
year, Mr. Tryon ?" the artist, with an indulgent 
smile at the inane question, replied, "Some- 
times as many as four and again only one. It 
is quality I want, not quantity/' Then he 
added, "Not long ago I finished a picture after 
working on it four years." What a comment 
on the hustle and bustle of to-day, in art as 
in everything else. If only artists could un- 
derstand that masterpieces are the products of 
the concentration of trained powers. Thomas 
Gray worked seven years on his "Elegy" and 
Leonardo da Vinci, after four years, pro- 
nounced "Mona Lisa" unfinished. 

Peace comes to us in the presence of "Au- 
tumn Sunset," in the Worcester Art Museum 
(Fig. 87). My Tryon, for years, has been 
filling his soul from the bounties of old "Sol" 
and has gathered into this sunset the glory- 
essence of all autumn time. A mystery hovers 
over the scene where the problem of life 
through death is being solved by nature's silent 
forces. We bow our heads a moment and then 
lift our eyes to the glory in the great beyond. 

Mr. Tryon has an exceedingly sensitive un- 



126 AMERICAN PICTURES ' 

derstanding of God's wide out-of-doors. No 
one knows better than he how to stimulate 
through our imagination the sense of motion 
in his pictures. In his sea pieces we feel the 
swish and swirl of waters, though a mysterious 
film hides the actual movement ; and the quiver- 
ing atmosphere caressing the slow moving 
clouds and soft luminous sand of the fore- 
ground gives an added sense of motion. 

And Mr. Tryon's colour! In it is the mys- 
tery of all colours. It has been my privi- 
lege to see unfinished canvases of the art- 
ist where the colour note was exceedingly 
bright. In answer to my surprised inquiry, 
he said, "Yes, I begin my pictures in a rather 
high key, but in finishing I bring the tone down 
to a sense of mystery. ,, A sense of mystery! 
That is the element that holds us in My Tryon's 
pictures. To him colour and motion are illu- 
sive — something not quite within our grasp. 
Our quickened imagination pursues these 
sprites that sparkle in all his pictures. 

What better can we do than stand quietly 
and drink in the beauty of the artist's "Spring 
Morning" (Fig. 88), Museum of Art, To- 
ledo, Ohio? Spring morning! The words 
themselves mean everything that is delicate, 
fresh, full of joy, the joy that "cometh in the 
morning." Mr. Tryon, with Inness and 







From a Thistle Print. Copyright, Detroit Publishing Co. 
Fig. 88— Spring Morning. Tryon. Courtesy of the Museum of Art, Toledo. 




Courtesy of the City Art Museum, St. Louis. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 127 

Homer and men like them, stands for Ameri- 
can landscape painting. These men have given 
the national spirit that proclaims to the world 
our independence. Never was there a more in- 
dividual interpretation of a spring morning 
than this lovely, tender picture of it. The 
light creeping up the horizon is lifting the 
mist, though it still lingers in the feathery tree- 
tops to kiss each tiny leaf-bud. The moist air 
is fragrant with the delicious odours of spring 
flowers and the tender grasses. All nature is 
singing praises to Him whose mercies are new 
each morning. For years Mr. Tryon has been 
gently and persistently leading the American 
people into an appreciation of the beautiful 
in nature. It has been a steady growth with 
the artist and his followers — clean, pure, up- 
right, and progressive, never losing sight of 
the fundamental lessons of the masters of the 
past, but adding to those fundamentals a bet- 
ter understanding of God's first temples. 

Mr. Tryon, a native of Hartford, Conn., 
is professor of art at Smith College. From 
the beginning of his career — he was a pupil 
of Charles Daubigny of the Barbizon school — 
there was a lyric note in his art that has 
strengthened with years. Then, too, Mr. 
Tryon has kept abreast of the modern spirit 
and in his own inimitable way. 



128 AMERICAN PICTURES 

Turning to J. Francis Murphy (1853), we 
are conscious of a mysterious element that is 
tantalising in its illusiveness. Self-taught, Mr. 
Murphy works out the dominant note in his 
landscapes through his own inner vision. He 
sees nature in the very act of transformation 
and, catching with his sensitive brush the filmy 
something she uses, he paints pictures of 
morning and evening, springtime and autumn 
that fill us with questionings. His golden tints, 
suggestive greens and delicious cream-browns , 
elude analysis. Truly "At Sunset" (Fig. 89), 
City Art Museum, St. Louis, is a melody on 
the harp. As delicate and tender as the wind 
sighing in the trees, it draws us irresistibly, 
for we enter the very realm of the artist's own 
vision. Never were the lingering tints of sun- 
set or the first gleam of the morning enveloped 
in a more caressing atmosphere than in Mr. 
Murphy's pictures. His perception of nature 
is like that of the lover for his ladylove. He 
sees her as through a veil, where the light re- 
veals only to confuse the vision. We enjoy 
"At Sunset" as we enjoy a dream. The mo- 
ment we try to make it real the bloom is gone. 

In his "Woodland Boundary" (Fig. 90), 
Museum of Fine Arts, Syracuse, he is just as 
elusive as to how he produces his effects. 




Fig. 90 — Woodland Boundary. Murphy. Courtesy of the Museum of 
Fine Arts, Syracuse. 




Fig. 91 — Summer. Wiggins. Courtesy of the Macbeth Gallery, New 
York City. 



Fig. 92 — October Evening. Dewey. Courtesy of the Macbeth Gal- 
lery, New York City. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 129 

Those gnarled and broken trees, reinforced by 
a tangled mass of undergrowth, stand as de- 
fiant guardians warning away intruders. The 
piled logs and scattered chips mark their pow- 
erlessness against man's incessant war on 
forests. That stretch of boggy land and 
storm-broken woodland is not an attractive 
scene in nature, yet Mr. Murphy has trans- 
formed it into an exquisite picture. See how 
the cloud-flecked sky smiles as it tenderly 
stoops to kiss the denuded soil, and how the 
mellow light covers all with a mantle of glad- 
ness. 

A truly rural scene is "Summer — Niantic 
Hills" (Fig. 91), Carlton Wiggins (1848). 
We recognise at once that Mr. Wiggins has 
been with George Inness, but no whit of his 
individuality is lost. The wind-swept hill loses 
none of its native charm under the artist's 
strong, sane brush. No wonder this is a 
favourite browsing place, with the wind sway- 
ing tree and bush and tall grass. What care 
the sheep for the fable of the wind and the 
sun if only they argue their strength together 
and not give a trial of their skill separately. 
And what splendid sheep they are — long wool, 
I suspect. Mr. Wiggins, born at Turners, 
Orange County, New York, was largely 
trained in America, in the National Academy 



130 AMERICAN PICTURES 

and under George Inness, though he studied in 
France for a time. In his broad handling of 
landscapes he gives the sense of expansive hill- 
sides and wide fields, fit pasture grounds for 
his splendid sheep and cattle. 

Charles Melville Dewey (1849) 1S a P oet 
with his brush. Under the influence of his 
"October Evening" (Fig. 92) the twilight 
gathers around us and we are conscious that 
in the little church, 

"The curfew tolls the knell of parting day," 



and never with a shyer grace has 

"The moon pull'd off her veil of light 
That hides her face by day from sight." 

The scene is indeed a poet's dream — quiet, 
restful and full of beauty — but a poet with a 
true sense of reality. No one could look at that 
little grove without realising that the artist 
knew the significance of trees. The deep wheel 
tracks in the dirt road and the overcast sky 
both bear witness that the moisture-ladened 
soil is a direct consequence of a well-wooded 
country. And how well balanced are the dark 
mysterious trees against the luminous sky. We 
feel the quiet splendour of it all and are soothed 
and comforted that our artists are recording 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 131 

such scenes as this. We need to be reminded 
that "night unto night sheweth knowledge" 
if only we would lift our eyes to behold the 
glory of the night season in God's great out-of- 
doors. There is a wholesome independence 
about Mr. Dewey. Largely self-taught, though 
he spent some time under the influence of Caro- 
lus Duran in Paris, he says his say in no un- 
certain tone. 

These interpreters of nature, who for more 
than a quarter of a century have been open- 
ing our eyes to the wonders of the morning and 
evening, the sun and the moon and every 
living thing, are strong, health-restoring 
physicians. They treat nature tenderly and 
lovingly, with no trace of sentimentality. 
Individuality marks each man and when once 
the individual characteristics are known it is 
comparatively easy to designate the work of 
each. 



CHAPTER XIV 

INNESS, JR.— WALKER— FOSTER— CARLSEN 
—VAN LEAR — LATHROP — DAINGER- 
FIELD— CRANE. 

TI7HEN George Inness, Jr., began his career 
" as an artist and worked in his father's 
studio in New. York, he very soon claimed rec- 
ognition as a painter of animals and a painter, 
too, who understood the spirit of the animals 
he represented. Rochester is fortunate in pos- 
sessing one of his finest paintings of cattle, 
"Bringing Home the Cows" (Fig. 93). In this 
picture we feel his inherent love of evening 
when moist clouds hang low and a soft radi- 
ance fills the air. That poetic instinct for "all 
phases of the ever-varying atmosphere — and 
all phases of illumination" of the elder Inness 
is the inheritance that has given power to the 
son. Mr. Inness* warrn sympathy for the life 
of the great out-of-doors is that of the men of 
1830 in France, but with an added note, aspi- 
ration, to the tillers of the soil. A stiffness is 
in the backbone of the American farmer that 

132 




Fig. 93 — Bringing Home the Cows. Inness, Jr. Courtesy ol the Memo- 
rial Art Gallery, Rochester. 




Fig. 94 — Wood Sawyers. Walker. Courtesy of the City Art Museum, St. 

Louis. 




Fig. 95 — Summer Day. 



Foster. Courtesy of the Macbeth Gallery, 
New York City. 



AMERICAN PICTURES 133 

lifts the head skyward. If he does not reach 
the goal himself, his children will. And the 
brisk step of the toiler! See how he expresses 
the eager home-coming of man and beast at 
the end of the day of toil. How full of senti- 
ment is this prosaic scene, and why not? 

Horatio Walker, a Canadian by birth 
(1855), is nevertheless an American artist. 
He is our Millet in painting. The workers of 
the soil have gained new beauties from his 
brush ; they are not French peasants, but men 
and women; the new world has opened wide 
the doors of opportunity and a new hope has 
entered into their lives. Mr. Walker always 
preserves that sense of fitness in his figures 
which is the true test of harmony. We feel in 
the "Wood Sawyers" (Fig. 94), City Art Mu- 
seum, St. Louis, the rhythm of well-balanced 
workers, where work is done with the least en- 
ergy. The rapidly falling sawdust shows no 
hitch in the moving blade. Of course it is a 
homely scene, but full of the feeling of home 
comfort. The increasing pile of wood hints 
at the comfort of a good kitchen fire; then, too, 
the men work with the steady purpose of those 
having a vision of home before them. Mr. 
Walker uses the rough clothes of the sawyers 
and the varied angles of the blocks of wood 
as so many radiating surfaces for the light. 



134 AMERICAN PICTURES 

The rich low tones of his canvases are like a 
harmony on the bass notes of an organ. 

George Inness, Jr., and Horatio Walker 
make their landscapes largely a setting for 
animal life. In other words, they picture the 
close relationship that exists in America be- 
tween the farmer's home and his fields and his 
livestock. In fact all our landscape artists 
treat the farm as a home centre by itself as 
opposed to the community centre with sur- 
rounding farms of the old world. 

How perfectly Mr. Ben Foster (1852) has 
brought this idea out in his "Summer Day" 
(Fig. 95). The home by the roadside is the 
heart of the broad fields and dense wood-land. 
No one knows better than Mr. Foster how to 
interpret the luxuriance of summer vegetation. 
Even the quiet water has the content of well- 
deserved rest as it laughs at the fleecy clouds 
stopping long enough to primp in its surface. 
Yes, the heat of summer is in the air, but it is 
the growing heat that nature uses in preparing 
her winter stores. 

Possibly just for bodily comfort we would 
rather follow this tiny stream into the "Woods 
Interior" (Fig. 96) with Mr. Carlsen, but the 
cosey farmhouse and the summer abundance 
linger with us still. Although Mr. Emil Carl- 
sen (1853) is a native of Copenhagen, Den- 




Fig. 96 — Woods Interior. Carlsen. Courtesy of the Macbeth Gallery, 
New York City. 




Fig. 97— Autumn. 



Van Lear. Courtesy of the Macbeth Gallery, New 
York City. 




Fig. 98— The Meadows. 



Lathrop. Courtesy of the Metropolitan 
Museum of Art. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 135 

mark, he gives the spirit of America in his 
pictures. These tall, slender trees pushing 
their bare trunks skyward that their branches 
and leaves may reach the sun and air are typi- 
cal of the second growth of our temperate 
climate. See how each tree, regardless of its 
position on the sloping bank, has gained its 
birthright; and how together the tops of the 
trees form a broad level expanse to the open 
sky. 

Mr. Carlsen calls us strongly with these sun- 
lit trees seeking the blue sky. We feel the 
colourfulness and scent the perfume of the 
wood's interior. Such scenes are wholesome 
tonics to the heart and brain. 

In Alexander Van Lear's (1857) "Autumn" 
(Fig. 97) the security of summer has given 
place to the spirit of destruction. The hustling 
wind mercilessly strips the trees bare, rudely 
shakes the feathery banners from the tall 
grasses and scuttles the clouds in breathless 
haste. Flowers and leaves and clouds are fly- 
ing hither and yon, but, oh, the riot of colour 
that flaunts itself in the face of the rushing 
onslaught ! Mr. Van Lear has caught the van- 
dal in the very act of destruction. The glory 
of autumn tints was never more lovingly 
blended with the living green of summer than 
in the middle clump of trees, or more triumph- 



136 AMERICAN PICTURES 

antly flung to the wind than in the brighter 
trees at the left. 

William L. Lathrop (1859) certainly knew 
how to make a stretch of level country interest- 
ing when he painted "The Meadows" (Fig. 
98), Metropolitan Museum of Art. One who 
has once seen the salt meadows of New Jersey 
when the low luminous sky as a great reflector 
illuminates marsh sedges, juicy pasture grasses 
and pools of water, recognises that the artist is 
telling the truth. It matters not where these 
particular meadows are, they carry the im- 
press of all dank lowlands receding inland 
into patches of pasturage with straggling trees 
leading to firmer ground. 

As Mr. Lathrop was born at Warren, in the 
northern part of Illinois, he no doubt knew well 
the flat section around Lake Michigan. But 
whether painting marshy swamps or mountain 
highlands, Mr. Lathrop ever holds to a defi- 
nite portrayal of nature as he sees her. His 
strong lines and pleasing colour give a sense of 
security, though at times he loses something 
of the caressing quality of the atmosphere. 

When Elliott Daingerfield (1859) stood on 
top of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North 
Carolina he perceived with spiritual eyes what 
we simply see with a natural vision. To record 
a phenomenon so evanescent as a "Slumbering 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 137 

Fog" (Fig. 99), Metropolitan Museum of Art, 
in a mountain valley is to fix in our minds a 
wonderful vision of one of nature's condensing 
plants. Yes, the fog is asleep; its form rises 
and falls regularly as in slumber, but it will 
wake soon; then great gaps will tear asunder 
the huge mass until it falls away, exhausted 
and spent. Mr. Daingerfield knew well, when 
he brought the bear into the foreground, that 
we must be steadied, or the mere horror of 
that slumbering monster would draw us into 
its depth. What a marvellous studio that was ! 
It is given to few artists to see such a vision 
and to fewer still is given the genius to record 
it. 

To describe autumn as Bruce Crane (1857) 
pictures it is about as impossible as implant- 
ing the song of a lark into the heart of one 
who has never heard it. He has literally stolen 
the entire sodium line from the spectrum, the 
thief, and has worked it into his pigments until 
his "Autumn Uplands" (Fig. 100), Metropoli- 
tan Museum of Art, challenges the sun itself 
in radiance. And what a luscious yellow it is, 
restrained yet overflowing with the joy of 
fruitage ! The ripened grasses on the low hills 
and shallow basins have taken the mellowed 
hue of hammered gold. And the corded wood 



138 AMERICAN PICTURES 

— how quickly our minds fly to open fire with 
roasting apples and popping chestnuts ! 

Though Mr. Crane was born in New York 
City, he has inherited somewhere along the 
line a keen understanding of nature. He gath- 
ers into his autumn scenes the essence that un- 
derlies the coming of fall in the cycle of the 
year. We feel in these pictures the influence of 
something completed — the drooping of the full 
ears of corn, the bending of the wheat heads on 
their slender stalks. He may not be special- 
ising in a particular phase of nature, like his 
master, Alexander Wyant, yet his name brings 
to mind at once the glow of the field because 
the harvest is come. 




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CHAPTER XV 
DAVIS— RANGER 

A BOUT a quarter of a century ago Charles 
1 *■ H. Davis (1856) returned home from 
Europe and began studying our American 
landscape. He has become as familiar a figure 
around the countryside of his home at Mystic, 
Conn., as was Wordsworth in the Lake Region, 
England. With a walking-stick and a bit of 
grass betwen his teeth, he may be seen almost 
any day, summer or winter, wandering over 
hill and dale, storing his memory full of choice 
spots where tree and bush and meadow grass 
are luminous in the light; where water and 
clouds and undulating ground give harmony of 
line and where the spirit of beauty dwells. He 
never makes a pencil sketch or note — why 
should he? His whole being is attune to the 
harmonies of nature. A nature student? Of 
course he is, and lives in the country all the 
year around; in fact, Mr. Davis has never 
had a city studio, but he is not a literalist. 
Hear what the artist has to say: "When a 

139 



140 AMERICAN PICTURES 

man has studied long and earnestly he acquires 
some skill in making things like/ but it's quite 
another matter to make them combine together 
to express one's thought." 

Then, speaking of his "cloud" pictures, Mr. 
Davis' words are: "I go through positive 
agonies in arranging my cloud masses — and 
often struggle days and weeks futilely because 
the uplift moving quality, which is to me of 
prime importance, will not come." Ruskin 
wrote, "We look too much at the earth and 
not enough at the clouds." It took Mr. Davis 
in his "Clouds" (Fig. 101), Museum of Fine 
Arts, Syracuse, to convince us that Ruskin 
was right, for we, Polonius-like, simply shift 
our point of view to see in the distorted 
shapes this animal or that as the mood is on 
us. It is not a mood with Mr. Davis, but a 
clear vision that sees in "the daughter of the 
wind and water" pictures that delight our 
eyes and gladden our hearts. 

The clouds to Mr. Davis are living, moving 
personalities. Day after day, from season to 
season, he watches them from his studio win- 
dow as they float in from the Sound to pose for 
him. Sometimes his studio is confined within 
four walls and his window is a limited space, 
but more often it is the great out-of-doors with 
the heavens spread out before him. Like the 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 141 

psalmist of old, Mr. Davis looks upon the earth 
as new every morning, and he makes us feel 
the freshness of the new creation and awakens 
in our hearts new hopes and greater aspira- 
tions. His clouds lift us out of the sordid and 
place our feet on firm ground, bidding us go 
forth to labour with heads erect and eyes 
steady. 

As to the working out of Mr. Davis' compo- 
sitions — all his pictures are compositions — 
the artist remarks, whimsically: 

"The ridiculous thing is that the final results 
may look as if easily done. Just a little clever 
brush-work/' His pictures combined the 
varying aspects of the scene under a great 
variety of wind and weather and change of 
seasons. Take his "Evening" (Fig. 102), 
Metropolitan Museum of Art. Was ever an 
old oak and meadow brook fuller of lingering 
memories ! The evening star twinkling in the 
cloudless sky might have beckoned to the Wise 
Men of old. Simple in detail and broad in 
conception, this picture alone would refute the 
assertion that Mr. Davis is a literalist. The 
artist's words are: 

"I do not think that a piece of nature in a 
frame, though wonderfully well done, is very 
desirable as a picture-effect in decorative ar- 
rangement; eloquent arrangement, I may say, 



142 AMERICAN PICTURES 

is to me the first thing to strive for, then suf- 
ficient of the intimate qualities of working out 
that adds charm to the work." 

Mr. Davis, a native of Amesbury, Mass., 
even as a little boy had an appreciative sense 
of good art, and at an early age began his stud- 
ies in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. He 
then went to Paris for a number of years. His 
life has been full of romance of that pure, 
sweet kind that everybody loves. The dear 
little French wife, whom he married in France, 
died shortly after they came to America with 
their two children and were settled in the new 
home in Mystic. To-day his joy is in a beauti- 
ful, talented helpmate who is an artist, too. 
The home at Mystic is one of those hospitable 
places where no trouble is too great that gives 
pleasure to those around them. 

No wonder "The Time of the Red-winged 
Blackbird" (Fig. 103), Museum of Fine Arts, 
Syracuse, is one of Mr. Davis' delightful 
sonnets on a special phase of nature, spring 
being the particular rule for this sonnet. The 
red-wing blackbird ! What bird-lover has not 
watched him sitting quietly on the topmost 
branch of some bare tree in an inaccessible 
boggy marsh, watching his mate nesting? We 
think of him as gregarious, but not always does 
he love a crowd or is he scraping an ac- 



p-T-,« 



"zar 






:,-; 




Fig. 103— The Time of the Red Winged Blackbird. Davis. 
Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Syracuse. 









Fig. 104- 



-Qn the West Winds. Davis. Courtesy of the Macbeth Gal- 
lery, New York City. 



,,,.-,,,_,.. . j .... ; 




Fig. 105 — North West Wind. Davis. Courtesy of the Art Institute, Chicago 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 143 

quaintance. It is Mr. Davis and Emerson who 
listen as 

"The red-wing flutes his 'Oka-lee." 

How simply Mr. Davis has expressed the 
security of the bird's chosen retreat ! The faint 
wheel-tracks lead to the stream and there stop. 
Probably the little stream, swollen by the 
spring rains, washed over the marsh and then 
settled into a deeper bed, too deep for a wagon 
to cross — we think this might be so. The red- 
wing knows. This bit of nature is lovely in 
its soft green garments, tinged with rainbow 
tints on underbrush and rocky slope. 

It is not surprising that Mr. Davis' pictures 
are enshrined in a mysterious something that 
is indefinable. As we look at one of his recent 
works, "On the West Winds" (Fig. 104), we 
are conscious that in his communion with na- 
ture he has fathomed secrets that we could not 
have known but for him. Shelley alone has 
pictured in words the glory and mystery of 
the clouds that Mr. Davis has pictured on can- 
vas. Those piled masses seem to exclaim as 
we watch them sailing on the wind : 

"Sublime on the towers of my sky bowers 
Lightning, my pilot sits; 

Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion, 
This pilot is guiding me, 



144 AMERICAN PICTURES 

And I all the while bask in heaven's blue smile, 
Whilst he is dissolving in rains." 

And in the "North West Wind" (Fig. 105), 
The Art Institute, Chicago, Mr. Davis is par- 
ticularly happy in giving a sense of upward 
sailing to the clouds which "all the while bask 
in heaven's blue smile/' making us glad in spite 
of ourselves. Caecias has no power to quell 
the wholesome joy of the fleecy mass, blow as 
furiously as he can, for the clouds, in their 
haste, simply tumble over each other with the 
glee of frolicsome children playing in snow- 
drifts ruthlessly blown together. 

The gladsomeness of "Early Summer" (Fig. 
106), Minneapolis Institute of Arts, is typical 
of Mr. Davis' joy in his art. He paints for 
the very fun of painting and with a boyish en- 
thusiasm so genuine that he puts new life into 
us. Then, too, his point of view for the out- 
ward changes of nature is flexible and sym- 
pathetic, yet he never swerves from the defi- 
nite message he is bringing us. Landscapes 
and cloudscapes, homey scenes and barren 
wastes, trees and running brooks, all come 
from his magic touch singing of the worth- 
whileness of life. 

No American artist is exerting a more 
wholesome influence on the art of the day 




Fig. 107 — Long Pond. Ranger. Courtesy of the Museum of 
Fine Arts, Syracuse. 







. 






* m ~j 






'■y >■ i % ^ ' nT. 




wBS0&$* 



Fig. 108 — Group of Sturdy Oaks. Ranger. Courtesy of the Albright 
Art Gallery, Buffalo. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 145 

than Mr. Davis. He is ever alert to profit by 
new movements of broad scope, yet his sense 
of proportion keeps his judgment sane. That 
he has proved himself a just judge his many 
memberships on awarding committees bear 
testimony. His work is of one who loves his 
art; his principle "to harmonise positive 
colours" to gain the quality desired and "al- 
ways without sacrifice of strong blues, greens 
or other colours," gives a sense of truth and 
sincerity that pleases, but with no hint of the 
literalist to mar the poetry of his pictures. 
That Mr. Davis is one of the modern old 
masters the masterpieces from his brush bear 
record. 

Ten years ago an English critic called a 
group of American landscape-painters "the 
rising sun in art," and in the group was Henry 
W. Ranger ( 1858-1916) . I know you will ex- 
claim at his "Long Pond" (Fig. 107), Museum 
of Fine Arts, Syracuse, "How much like 
Corot !" Yes, it is similar to the great French 
landscapist, but is it the same? It took courage 
to enter the path Corot trod, and only a man 
who knew his own strength would have dared 
do it. When we stop to think, however, 
why should not other artists see nature as 
Corot saw her? Mr. Ranger's unafraid frank- 
ness wins us at once. He is not imitating an- 



146 AMERICAN PICTURES 

other, but expressing his own personality some- 
what in the same manner of another. It is 
Corot-like, this "Long Pond/' but it is not 
Corot; the trees are firmer and more steady, 
the composition more definite, yet the atmos- 
pheric effect is just as luminous and all-em- 
bracing. What if it does show the influence 
of the Barbizon school? Does that make it a 
less original production by Henry W. Ranger? 
The controversy still rages that Shakespeare 
borrowed his plots, but somehow Shakespeare 
still continues to be the great Bard of Avon, 
and Ranger, though Corot-like, remains the 
American artist, and his landscapes are rep- 
resentative of the leading landscapists of 
America. 

That Mr. Ranger and Mr. Davis were per- 
sonal friends is only another instance of the 
attraction of opposites. As this century 
opened these two artists found themselves 
artistic neighbours, as it were — Mr. Ranger 
at Lyme, Conn., and Mr. Davis at Mystic. 
And there began the friendly relationship. 
A few years later Mr. Ranger came still nearer 
and made his home at Noank, where, for half 
the year, the two men were within two miles or 
so of each other. 

Naturally their very difference was an ele- 
ment of helpfulness to each. Miss Davis laugh- 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 147 

ingly portrays an amusing picture of Mr. 
Ranger's portly form close in front of one of 
her father's canvases pointing out some par- 
ticular spot that pleases him well: "Yes, 
Charley," muses Mr. Ranger, "that is just 
right, just right !" and said "Charley," a slight 
man, tries in vain to see the praised spot 
around, above or through the friendly critic. 

We would characterise Mr. Ranger as ad- 
hering rather closely to traditions, even at 
times sacrificing nature's colours. Pure blues 
and greens and others it seems must go 
if they interfere in bringing about a certain 
quality. Sometimes we wonder about the last- 
ing quality of his work, considering the 
manipulated brilliancy of his colours to-day. 
His glorious "Highbridge, New York," Metro- 
politan Museum of Art, sparkles with the 
iridescence of the fire-opal. Incidentally, this 
picture has no resemblance to a Corot. That 
Mr. Ranger's pictures have a charm that is 
most attractive no one will question. 

Possibly none of Mr. Ranger's pictures has 
more of the sturdy qualities that mark him as 
an artist than his "Group of Sturdy Oaks" 
(Fig. 108), Albright Art Gallery, Buffalo. 
The oak, the monarch of the forest, has 
from time immemorial held a peculiar plac6 
in civic and religious ceremonies. The Druids 



148 AMERICAN PICTURES 

venerated it; ancient European peoples held 
that within its bark lived gnomes and fairies ; 
in Greek myth it is dedicated to the god of 
thunder; to wear a chaplet of oak leaves was 
a special civic honour among the Romans; 
and England's oaks of honour commemorate 
many events of historic importance. These 
oaks of Mr. Ranger's invite us to enjoy their 
cool shade, and as we do so let us recall one 
of the curious legends that linger around these 
noble trees. 

The monks of Dtinwald near the Rhine 
were rich and avaricious. Near them a young 
nobleman owned wide ancestral acres which 
they determined to acquire by fair means or 
foul. The young nobleman, knowing that his 
inherited right was centuries old, was deter- 
mined to hold his property. He tried the 
judges but they were too afraid of the church 
to give a just decision. At last he promised 
to relinquish his estate if the monks would 
grant him one more season of planting and 
harvesting his crops. This the monks hastened 
to grant and gave the young nobleman a legally 
written contract signed and sealed by them. 
They now watched with great interest, and 
considerable glee, to know what kind of crop 
was to be harvested. The seeds were sown 
and the plants appeared when, to their chagrin, 




From a Thistle Print. Copyright, Detroit Publishing Co. 
Fig. 109 — Landscape. Ranger. Courtesy of the Museum of Art, Toledo. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 149 

they were not wheat or oats but young oaks. 
The monks were fairly outwitted, for before 
the trees were grown to the top of their 
cloisters the monks were all dead ; the cloisters 
themselves crumbled away while the sturdy 
oaks still stood. 

We feel, as we enjoy Mr. Ranger's oak trees, 
that he has pictured Emerson's trees spreading 
themselves 

". . . in the air 
As if they loved the element and hastened 
To dissipate their being in it." 

There is no question about Mr. Ranger's 
love for trees — and New England trees, too. 
These triplets in his "Landscape" (Fig. 109), 
Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio, form splendid 
sentinels on the point of land jutting into the 
water. His understanding of trees grows 
more intimate with each study of them, and 
they, in turn, are claiming from him the ten- 
derest and most sympathetic treatment. This 
could scarcely be otherwise with one who lives 
with them and loves them. 

Mr. Ranger was born in Western New York 
and lived part of the year in New York City. 
He studied his art outside of the academies 
and spent several years abroad in France, Eng- 
land and Holland. 



CHAPTER XVI 
ABBEY— BLASHFIELD— VOLK 

I3RI0R to the World's Fair at Chicago, in 
1893, the American artists had made com- 
paratively little progress in the art of architec- 
tural decoration. That exhibition, seconded 
by the Municipal Art Society of New York 
and other cities, brought about a Renaissance 
in this branch of art that already has trans- 
formed our public buildings, and that may in 
the future make them close rivals of those 
grand old buildings of Venice, Florence and 
Rome. As soon as the opportunity arose there 
were plenty of American artists ready for the 
work — such men as Blashfield, Abbey, Sar- 
gent, Alexander, and a score of others. That 
these men understood mural decoration simply 
emphasised the fact of their many-sided pow- 
ers. Architectural decoration in America, 
however, is a study by itself. 

Possibly Edwin H. Blashfield (1848) is bet- 
ter known through his mural decorations, for, 
without question, he has attained a rare de- 

150 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 151 

gree of excellence in this branch of his art. 
His mural paintings in the Congressional Li- 
brary, in the new Minnesota Capitol and in 
the Capitol of Iowa, at Des Moines, are good 
examples of the versatility of his conceptions ; 
and in the latter — "Westward" — his handling 
of sunlight is a stroke of genius. The long 
red rays of the setting sun illumine the whole 
scene with a golden glow, as though the artist 
had caught some of Old Sol's rays and mixed 
them with his paints. The airy lightness of 
the radiant beings who are the guides into the 
unexplored West is in fine contrast to the 
sturdy company of pioneers. 

The combination of lightness and strength 
that Mr. Blashfield knew so well how to man- 
age in a composition is specially fine in his 
"Uses of Wealth" (Fig. no), a decoration in 
one of the banking houses of Cleveland, Ohio. 
With perfect ease he unites the purely allegori- 
cal with the delver and artificer, so that one 
supplements the other, making a harmonious 
whole. 

Edwin Austin Abbey (1852-1911) was born 
in Philadelphia and trained in the Pennsylvania 
Academy of Fine Arts. When only nineteen 
he began his artistic career as a magazine il- 
lustrator. Probably no artist past or present 
ever has come so near to the heart of the read- 



152 AMERICAN PICTURES 

ing public as has Abbey. His wide and com- 
prehensive knowledge of legend, literature, his- 
tory, and fiction, together with his deep sym- 
pathy in the portrayal of character and stories, 
have endeared him to all. 

Mr. Abbey certainly has refuted over and 
over again the assertion that story-telling pic- 
tures could not be true art. His pictorial in- 
terpretations of the "Holy Grail" in the Bos- 
ton Library, "She Stoops to Conquer" and 
Shakespearian scenes have given those master- 
pieces in ancient legend and literature a sig- 
nificance undreamed of before. He not only 
entered into the spirit of the stories as their 
authors represented them but, adding his 
own personal characteristics, has given to each 
an originality that stamps them as master- 
pieces in art 

Of course we are interested in the story un- 
derlying Abbey's portrayal of special scenes, 
yet that does not detract from our enjoyment 
of the picture itself. As we stand before "The 
Penance of Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester" 
(Fig. in), Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, we 
feel the fascination of the beautiful, haughty 
woman. Our instinctive sense of what is due 
womanhood is being outraged. We recog- 
nise that here is represented an elemental truth 
in civilised life. Even the fact that overween- 




Photo by the Enslee & Deck Co., New York. 

Fig. 110 — Uses of Wealth. Blashfield. Banking House, Cleveland. 
Courtesy of the Artist. 




Copyright, Carnegie Institute. 

Fig. Ill — The Penance of Eleanor. Abbey. Courtesy of the Carnegie Insti- 
tute, Pittsburgh. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 153 

ing ambition has brought to pass this punish- 
ment does not prevent the artist from centring 
the charm of the composition around the 
Duchess. 

The story told in Henry VI, Act II, Scene 
3, is in outline that Eleanor plotted that her 
husband, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, Pro- 
tector of the Kingdom, should supplant his 
nephew, King Henry VI, and she would step 
from the rank of second lady in the realm to 
that of queen. When her schemes were dis- 
closed, her fellow-intriguers were put to death 
and she, said King Henry, 

"Shall after three days open penance done, 
Live in your country here in banishment." 

The painting represents the moment of 
Eleanor's speech to the Duke of Gloucester, 
who, dressed in mourning, listens with bowed 
head. 

"Ah, Gloster ; teach me to forget myself ! 
For whilst I think I am thy married wife 
And thou a prince, protector of this land, 
Methinks I should not thus be led along, 
Mail'd up in shame, with papers on my back 
And follow'd with a rabble, that rejoice 
To see my tears, and hear my deep-felt groans. 
The ruthless flint doth cut my tender feet; 
And when I start the envious people laugh, 
And bid me be advised how I tread." 



154 AMERICAN PICTURES 

In the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a 
gorgeous "Scene from King Lear" (Fig. 112), 
by Mr. Abbey. Cordelia in this picture is one 
of those marvellous creations of the human 
brain that exists as a real person to us. Ab- 
bey has painted a portrait of Shakespeare's 
Cordelia — and Cordelia lives, as do Jeannie 
Dean, Dinah Morris, Uriah Heep, Rip Van 
Winkle, and scores of others. They are indi- 
viduals whose influence lives on through all 
time. What a splendid Cordelia she is ! How 
noble and dignified and true and womanly. 
Our hearts burn with indignation against the 
jeering, flippant, untrue sisters who in their 
very attitudes of scorn show their unworthi- 
ness as daughters. 

You will recall the scene — King Lear has 
decided to divide his kingdom in three parts, 
each daughter a part. He asks, in turn, 
"Which of you, shall we say, doth love us 
most? — Goneril, our eldest born, speak first." 
And then "what say our second daughter, our 
dearest Regan, wife of Cornwall? Speak." 
Both daughters speak honeyed words from 
false hearts. And when he asks Cordelia he 
fails to understand that in her answer speaks 
the true daughter. Abbey has chosen the mo- 
ment when the poor, deluded, broken-hearted 
old king, having severed all ties with his young- 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 155 

est, his best beloved daughter, leaves the room. 
Cordelia turns to her sisters and gives those 
memorable words of reproof: 

"Ye jewels of our father, with wash'd eyes 
Cordelia leaves you : I know you what you are ; 
And, like a sister, am most loath to call 
Your faults as they are nam'd. Love well our father : 
To your professed bosoms I commit him: 
But yet, alas, stood I within his grace, 
I would prefer him to a better place. 
So, farewell to you both." 

The decorative quality of this painting is 
superb, and in the delineation of character Ab- 
bey has rarely equalled the figures of Cordelia 
and King Lear. Was anything ever more ex- 
pressive of crushed love and hopes than the 
bent old man feebly leaving the room in a state 
of collapse after his denunciation of Cordelia? 
The picture of the dog is a bit of genre paint- 
ing of rare excellence. 

Some men and some portraits are epoch- 
making. And if the man and the portrait are 
one and the same the world delights to give 
homage. When the "Portrait of Felix Adler" 
(Fig. 113), Metropolitan Museum of Art, 
occupied the place of honour at the National 
Academy of Design, New York City, in 191 5, 
the enthusiasm of the visiting public verified 



156 AMERICAN PICTURES 

the genius of the artist, Douglas Volk (1856). 
The personality of the founder of the Society 
of Ethical Culture pervaded the gallery. That 
portrait compelled attention, just as the man, 
Felix Adler, compels his audiences to listen. 
Mr. Volk, grasping the salient qualities that 
mark the lecturer, has made us feel the power 
of the man. The kindly eyes and genial mouth 
bespeak human sympathy, yet in them lurk the 
power of righteous scorn against injustice. 
Almost under our gaze the expression changes 
and we wonder what great problem is working 
to solution in the massive brain. Already this 
portrait and this man belong to the ages. 




Fig. 



113 — Portrait of Felix Adler. Volk. Courtesy of the Metropolitan 
Museum of Art. 



CHAPTER XVII 
SARGENT 

JOHN SINGER SARGENT (1856) is an 
** artist who cannot be limited to any country 
or any time. We are proud to claim him as an 
American, but we are still prouder to recognise 
that he is one of the great portrait painters 
of the world. Besides being endowed as he is 
by nature with almost every gift that makes a 
perfect technician, he has that varied gift, 
genius, which stamps his work as coming from 
a master's brush. Mr. Sargent was born in 
Florence into a home of culture and refinement. 
What more could a talented child have had to 
perfect him than he had in that home and in 
that art centre of the world? When at eight- 
een he entered Carolus Duran's studio in Paris 
he took with him the American temperament, 
so quick and susceptible to impressions, united 
with an appreciation of the truly beautiful in 
art absorbed from the grand old masters of 
the past. After his studies in Paris he went to 
Spain, where, in the works of the great Span- 

157 



158 AMERICAN PICTURES 

ish painter, Velasquez, he found that perfection 
in simplicity of handling, in the relationship 
between colour and light, in surrounding every 
object with atmosphere, and in freedom from 
all mannerism which supplied the very re- 
quisites most needed in forming his own 
methods — and Mr. Sargent's methods are de- 
cidedly his own. 

Certainly "arrested action" was never a 
truer description of any portrait of Mr. Sar- 
gent's than in that of the "Misses Boit" (Fig. 
114), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The 
children have stopped just for a moment to 
watch the artist paint; he "dashes it right off 
carelessly" but with a rapidity of skill that is 
directed by an acutely trained mind. An Eng- 
lishman once said of Sargent, "As the Ameri- 
cans say, he works like a steam engine." Sar- 
gent's concentration of mind is such that when 
a line is once drawn it remains — he does noth- 
ing in a hurry. 

The decorative quality of the picture of the 
Boit children is like that of any harmoniously 
furnished room after four little girls have en- 
tered and given the warmth of childhood to 
the furniture. These little girls are darlings ; 
but all children are darlings when their lives 
are regulated by the taste and skill of thinking 
parents. Taste and skill — yes, those are the 





02 

. o 




Fig. 116 — Portrait of James Whitcomb Riley. Sargent. Courtesy of the 
John Herron Institute, Indianapolis. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 159 

qualities that Mr. Sargent puts into his pic- 
tures. Nothing is done in a haphazard man- 
ner, but the beauty of it all is that no trace of 
the manner of doing is felt in the result. Each 
little girl has a definite personality, yet who can 
fathom the method by which the artist has 
brought out that personality? We only know 
that what he has done "lives and breathes and 
moves and quivers." 

Mr. Sargent's portraits are not simply per- 
sonal character sketches ; his habit seems to be 
to study the character of humanity en masse, 
and then the individual is treated more as a 
type in which a certain temperament is empha- 
sised. Perhaps this is best illustrated in his 
portraits representing public characters, as 
Coventry Patmore, the poet, and again in 
"Carmencita" (Fig. 115), the Spanish ballet- 
dancer. It is not alone this particular dancing 
girl, as she appeared before the Paris students 
in all her insolent beauty and charming grace, 
that Mr. Sargent was representing, but the 
acme of the dancer's art. As we stand before 
this painting in the Luxembourg, Paris, the 
sparkle and glitter of the deliciously coloured 
gown fairly takes our breath. We feel that we 
have come suddenly before a brilliantly lighted 
stage. 

Mr. Chase has a picture of "Carmencita" 



i6o AMERICAN PICTURES 

in the Metropolitan Museum of Art of which 
Sargent might say, as did Michael Angelo 
when he saw Raphael's "Sybil," "He has 
walked through my chapel!" Alike, and yet 
how different! Both are marvels of the paint- 
er's art. 

When Mr. Sargent painted the "Portrait of 
James Whitcomb Riley" (Fig. 116), John Her- 
ron Art Institute, Indianapolis, he gave a 
masterpiece of rare value, portraying Indi- 
ana's most distinguished son. It is easy to 
grasp, from Mr. Sargent's likeness of him, 
the genuine quality in Mr. Riley that has 
made his dialect writing a success. 

When Mr. Riley chose Benjamin F. Johnson 
as a sobriquet he created a real character. An 
aged, uneducated rustic was Johnson, who said 
to himself, in his own words: "From child- 
hood up tel old enough to vote, I alius wrote 
more or less poetry, as many an album in the 
neighbourhood can testify . . . from the hart 
out." The public at once recognised the ring 
of truth in the "Old Swimmin' Hole" and 
scored of other poems. Mr. Riley began to ab- 
sorb the characteristics of the "hoosier" : — per- 
haps derived from "Who's yere?" — when a 
mere child. He was the constant companion 
of his father, an attorney-at-law, and on court 
days in some obscure corner of the courtroom 




Fig. 117 — Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth. 
Sargent. Tate Gallery, London. 




Fig. 



118— Carnation Lily, Lily Rose. Sargent. 
Museum, London. 



Albert Victoria 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 161 

he was unconsciously preparing for his fu- 
ture career. Several of his earlier years were 
spent wandering over the country decorating 
the fences and roadsides with business signs 
to please the people and entice their trade. At 
one time he even had yearnings toward por- 
trait painting, but signs brought larger re- 
turns for his time. 

With such a man as James Whitcomb Riley 
for a subject, Mr. Sargent must have felt the 
tingle of a war-horse on his mettle. And the 
portrait is proof that he recognised the subtle 
traits of the man who is known as the "Burns 
of America." The portrait is true to the man 
— humorous yet ever kindly, witty with no 
sting, seeing weakness but with the sympathy 
of a true friend, quick to scent the absurd 
but quicker to heal the hurt — such is a true pic- 
ture of James Whitcomb Riley (1853-1916). 

Mr. Sargent is perfectly at home in portray- 
ing the tragedy queen, as his painting of "Ellen 
Terry as Lady Macbeth" (Fig. 117) testifies. 
One critic writes: "Sargent's picture of her 
(Ellen Terry) will stand out among pictures 
of distinguished women as one who bears no 
resemblance to anybody else." It would hardly 
be possible to conceive of a more subtle union 
of characters into a perfect being than is por- 
trayed in his Lady Macbeth. It is Shake- 



162 AMERICAN PICTURES 

speare's Lady Macbeth, and yet it is Ellen 
Terry who has made her alive. It is Ellen 
Terry's Lady Macbeth, and yet it is Mr. Sar- 
gent who has caught her on canvas in his own 
original way without detracting in the small- 
est measure from her originality. The three 
characters are perfectly distinct, yet perfectly 
blended. This portrait of "Ellen Terry as 
Lady Macbeth" is in the Tate Gallery, London. 

In Mr. Sargent's "Carnation Lily, Lily 
Rose" (Fig. 118), in Victoria and Albert Mu- 
seum, London, we feel that rare sympathy 
where every brush-stroke is a token of love. 
And we know at once that the friendship be- 
tween the artist and these little girls is a very 
close one. The scene represents an English 
garden just at twilight. The two little girls, 
standing in a thicket of green leaves and 
bright flowers, are lighting Japanese lanterns. 
The reddish rays from the candles gleam and 
tremble on the foliage and the simple dresses 
of the little lamp-lighters. Nothing could be 
simpler or more sincere than these dainty 
misses intent on the task before them. As a 
piece of decoration this picture is simply su- 
perb. It is an exquisite bit of nature softened 
by the evening shade and made permanent on 
canvas by a true artist. 

Nearly a decade ago it was rumoured in Lon- 




Fig. 119 — Tyrolese Interior. 



Sargent. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum 
of Art. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 163 

don that Mr. Sargent was tired of painting 
portraits, which meant simply that this artist 
would paint something else with equal skill. It 
also meant that in turning from the incessant 
demands of sitters in high places, Mr. Sargent 
could paint his marvellous landscapes and 
mountain regions where the working people 
and the Tyrolese peasants are his sitters. 
These scenes are no less portraits because they 
are pictures. 

In the "Tyrolese Interior" (Fig. 119)', Met- 
ropolitan Museum of Art, the group around 
the table is just as individual in characterisa- 
tion as is the Boit group of children. Deffra- 
ger, the German artist, has devoted much of 
his work to the Tyrolese peasants, yet in none 
of his pictures is the religious spirit of the 
mountaineers so impelling as in this one. So 
fervent is the spirit of religious fervour that 
each meal is eaten with the crucified Christ 
looking down in blessing. Even the light is a 
benediction under Mr. Sargent's illuminating 
brush. The warmth of a holy communion is 
in this home, rough as the exterior seems. 
Such a picture breathes pure religion in the 
very joy of colour and light and breadth of 
handling under a master's touch. 



CHAPTER XVIII 
ALEXANDER— BLUM 

QNE of John White Alexander's (1856- 
191 5) most exquisite harmonies in colour 
and feeling is "Isabella and the Pot of Basil" 
(Fig. 120), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 
The long lines of the soft greyish-green filmy 
robe, the graceful curve of the lovely arm and 
the pathos of the sad, pale face make a picture 
to be remembered. We love it as a work of 
art and also because it brings to mind that 
pitiful story as told in Keats' poem of "Isabel." 
Isabella was a beautiful Florentine maiden 
living with her two brothers. They had 
planned to marry her "to some high noble and 
his olive trees." They found, however, that 
one Lorenzo, their servant, had dared to love 
her and that she, "Fair Isabel, poor simple Isa- 
bel !" returned his love. It was nothing to the 
brothers that these two loved each other. 
Lorenzo must die. They beguiled him out of 
Florence beyond the Arno to a forest where 
they slew him and buried him. They told their 

164 




Fig. 120 — Isabella and the Pot of Basil. Alexander. 
Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 





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AMERICAN PICTURES 165 

sister that Lorenzo had been sent in haste to 
foreign lands. She waited until her heart 
grew sick, but no Lorenzo came. At last, in a 
vision of the night, Lorenzo stood by her bed- 
side. He told her of his murder and just how 
to find his grave. In the morning, with an 
aged nurse, she followed her lover's descrip- 
tion until she came to the large flint stone, the 
whortleberries, the beeches, and the chestnuts 
and under the fresh mound she found her 
lover. She took the precious head and kissed 
it. 

"Then in a silken scarf 
She wrapped it up ; and for its tomb did choose 
A garden-pot, wherein she laid it by, 
And covered it with mould, and o'er set 
Sweet Basil, which her tears kept wet." 

Her brothers, wondering why she always 
sat by her pot of Basil, stole it, and when they 
found Lorenzo's head, they fled from Florence. 
Isabella pined and died with the pitiful wail on 
her dying lips, 

"O cruelty, to steal my Basil-pot away from me." 

As we stand before "The Ring" (Fig. 121), 
in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, we feel 
like saying of Mr. Alexander as did Sir Joshua 
Reynolds of his rival, Gainsborough, "I can- 



166 AMERICAN PICTURES 

not think how he produces his effects." There 
is something impalpable about this picture, 
something that baffles explanation. Exqui- 
sitely beautiful, it satisfies because it gives the 
feeling of simplicity — no overcrowding and 
nothing uninteresting to mar the joy of the 
picture. Mr. Alexander is originality itself 
in his arrangement. His poses are perfectly 
natural to each individual represented, yet the 
moment any one in real life uses them nat- 
urally, that person is accused of being Alex- 
andrian in manner. It is interesting to ex- 
amine Mr. Alexander's coarse canvas and see 
how the unglazed surface responds to his vary- 
ing brush strokes, thus adding interest to the 
work. His pictures are individually his, re- 
gardless of any influence from Germany, Italy 
or France. It would have been impossible for 
one so filled with the artistic instinct, as was 
Mr. Alexander, not to have given to the world 
an art peculiar to himself. 

Mr. Alexander, a native of Allegheny, Pa., 
and an orphan at five years of age, was 
brought up by his maternal grandparents. 
When scarcely in his teens he found school 
work very irksome, so at an early age went to 
New York City, where he acquired consider- 
able fame as an illustrator. He then made the 
usual tour of inspection of the European art 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 167 

centres, until he finally settled in Paris for an 
extended stay. His exhibitions in the Champ 
de Mars took the French people by storm. 
While for many years he continued to spend 
half of each year in Paris, he never lost that 
peculiar charm that belongs to a true Ameri- 
can. 

In Mr. Alexander's portraits we find a com- 
bination of the purely decorative with the per- 
sonality of the sitter; the latter is revealed 
through the expression of the face and figure. 
He is most original in the extraordinary effects 
of colour he secures with a limited use of pig- 
ments, and in the marvellous likenesses he 
evolves through peculiar poses, marking spe- 
cial moods of the individual sitter. 

"Walt Whitman," by John W. Alexander 
(Fig. 122), dominates the room, Metropolitan 
Museum of Art. Possibly because Whitman 
was our most typical American poet we thus 
feel his presence, but more probably because 
Mr. Alexander has preserved his own nation- 
ality in representing this true American man 
of fourscore years. Just such typical pictures 
as this, and scores of others by our own men, 
show our nationality and give us an American 
art. Foreign influences may guide but they 
do not obliterate our inheritance. 

Can you not hear this brave old poet repeat 



168 AMERICAN PICTURES 

that heart-rending tribute to our martyred 
hero : — 

"O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done; 
The ship has weathered every rock, the prize we 
sought is won. 

But O heart! heart! heart! 
Leave you not the little spot, 
Where on the deck my captain lies, 
Fallen cold and dead." 

And now in this magnificent portrait of "Au- 
guste Rodin" (Fig. 123), Cincinnati Museum, 
we see the artist's mastery of French traits. 
It is a master-portrait of a master-sculptor. 
Was ever anything more original than that 
pose ? A thinker has stopped as he crosses the 
room, for a special thought has come and he 
must examine more carefully the bit of work 
he has in his hand. Almost can we fathom the 
intent of that master mind, but not quite, for 
he is too deep for the most of us. Very few, 
indeed, are the pigments that Mr. Alexander 
uses, but with those few he obtains results 
that are simply marvellous. Original, individ- 
ual and distinguished are the attributes of Mr. 
Alexander and his work. 

To have a portrait of "Robert Blum" (Fig. 
124), and by Alexander, too, is a mark of 
special good fortune, the Cincinnati Museum. 








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AND THEIR PAINTERS 169 

As we look in his face, it is easy to understand 
why this man could remain himself in his work, 
and still gather inspiration from his associates 
and strength from the old masters. Those 
clear dark eyes are seeking for truth, but their 
steady depths index a mind that is reasoning 
and analysing and absorbing. Then, too, there 
is a genial quality shining out at us that ac- 
cords well with the easy and, without doubt, 
natural attitude he has taken to converse with 
a friend. And that Mr. Alexander knew Rob- 
ert Blum intimately we have a right to assume 
from the warmth of personality of this por- 
trait. 

Quite naturally we turn next to the works 
of a native of Cincinnati, Robert Frederick 
Blum (1857-1903). After his death in 1903, 
his sister Mrs. Haller assisted in collecting a 
large number of his paintings and studies for 
the museum. The addition of these represen- 
tative works by Blum was an acquisition of 
immense value to the students and lovers of 
art. Mr. Blum was less than twenty when he 
settled in New York City, and almost imme- 
diately success came to him. He was a man of 
keen perceptive powers, alive to the merits of 
others, ready to be influenced, but never domi- 
nated by the genius of other artists. He made 
many journeys to Europe and one to Japan. 



i;o AMERICAN PICTURES 

The results of these visits are seen in the sub- 
jects of his paintings, but not unduly in his 
manner of work. 

One of the most attractive of his pictures is 
the "Venetian Lace Makers" (Fig. 125). So 
true to life is this group of young women gos- 
siping over their pillows, as their deft fingers 
manipulate the thread and pins, that we 
scarcely believe it is only a picture before us. 
How many times have we stood in the door- 
way of some lace room back of San Marco, 
Venice, and watched just such a scene as this. 
See the sun stealing in through the cracks in 
the Venetian blind and boldly pouring through 
the open door and window. And how it brings 
out the eagerness of the faces and plays with 
the hair and sparkles on the beads and makes 
each dress and apron and basket like an illu- 
sive elf of first one tint then another. Firmly 
and delicately the artist has placed the scene 
before us with no superfluous details; simply 
and clearly the story, if we may call it a story, 
of the Venetian lace-maker is made a reality 
to us. 

Mr. Blum's studies of Japan were really the 
first to introduce the American people to the 
charm of that land of the cherry blossom and 
chrysanthemum. 



CHAPTER XIX 

TEN AMERICAN PAINTERS 

HASSAM—WEIR— DEWING— DeCAMP 

/ TP EN American Painters separated them- 

A selves from the National Academy in 
1868 and began an unusual existence— if we 
may express it so — by exhibiting their paint- 
ings at the gallery of Durand Ruel, New York 
City. A few years later, through the kindness 
of Mr. Montross, they continued to exhibit at 
the Montross Gallery, New York City, for sev- 
eral years. Now, however, most of the men 
are again members of the National Academy 
and exhibit there, too. 

The original men who formed this unique 
group were: Childe Hassam, J. Alden Weir, 
Thomas W. Dewing, Joseph DeCamp, John H. 
Twachtman, Frank W. Benson, Edmund M. 
Tarbell, Robert Reid, Willard L. Metcalf, and 
Edward E. Simmons. In exhibiting together 
these artists were forming no organization 
with rules and regulations and governing mem- 

171 



172 AMERICAN PICTURES 

bers — rather the contrary. They repudiated 
all suggestions of following special tendencies 
in the selection of works — perish the thought! 
They have emphatically refused the article 
"The" in designating the group, and have sim- 
ply continued to exhibit together these nearly 
twenty years as friends and lovers of independ- 
ent work founded on truth. In writing about 
these men, "Ten American Painters'' makes 
a convenient chapter heading and possibly the 
public is remembering them better under this 
title. After Mr. Twachtman died in 1902 Mr. 
Chase was elected to take his place. 

We recognise that it takes a peculiar kind of 
wisdom to strike into hitherto untrodden paths 
and wander far afield without losing the 
fundamentals of the old ways. Ten American 
Painters and a few others have that wisdom 
and, while some have fallen by the way, they 
are still binding the old and the new into an 
art that prophesies much for America. 

Mr. Childe Hassam was born in Boston in 
1859. From 1889, when he was awarded the 
bronze medal at the Paris Exposition, until 
the present time his art has received nearly a 
score of medals and prizes as tokens of appro- 
bation from the critics of Europe and America. 
Probably the fact that Mr. Hassam is not only 
a genius but a thoroughly trained craftsman 




From a Thistle Print. Copyright, Detroit Publishing Co. 
Fig. 126 — The New York Window. Hassam. 



Courtesy of the Corcoran 
Gallery of Art, Washington. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 173 

is the secret of his success. No artist stands 
out more prominently among the Independents 
of the so-called Impressionist school than 
Mr. Hassam. His personality is behind the 
modus operandi of all his pictures. 

The "New York Window" (Fig. 126), Cor- 
coran Gallery of Art, Washington, D. C, is 
one of a number of similar paintings in which 
the artist doubtless is dealing primarily with 
light and its effect on the various objects, but 
personally we cannot look at the young woman 
as simply an object. She is far too individual 
for that. To one at all familiar with New 
York City houses and their high narrow-paned 
windows that catch the full light of the sky, 
this picture will touch a responsive chord. 
Only an artist with the sensitive appreciation 
of the effect of light that Mr. Hassam has 
could have originated these unique pictures. 
Who has used this theme in like manner — 
given a girl, a dish of fruit or spring blossoms, 
a round table, a city window and light and 
colour? One American critic says of Mr. Has- 
sam's daring methods and originality: "I am 
inclined to believe that the amazing satisfac- 
tion of his art can best be explained by the ac- 
curacy of his accentuation, the perfection of 
his emphasis in colour. That he is a master of 
colour we frankly admit, though at times we 



174 AMERICAN PICTURES 

are stupefied and turn away feeling that he is 
beyond us. Not so with this lovely picture. 
The New York window has taken on a new 
character since Hassam has shown it to us." 

"Spring Morning" (Fig. 127), Carnegie In- 
stitute, Pittsburgh, is a picture that is 
tantalising in its hint of the rebirth of ani- 
mate things. The thoughts that are stirring 
in the young woman — or is it in our own mind ? 
— are fraught with intense feeling. Not even 
the birds skimming across the screen are more 
intent. A dreamer is she? yes, but a spring 
dreamer where all is possibility. Light and air 
caress the canvas until colour and form have 
become component parts with them and the 
whole picture sings in harmony, but without 
loss of solidity, the quality that the later in- 
dependents are gaining. 

If Mr. Hassam meant to convince the world 
that shades in colour exist which only the art- 
ist, with his trained eye, can reveal, he has 
proved his point, just as he has convinced the 
world in every new theory he has advanced. 
We have followed him with delight as he pic- 
tured the "New York Window" and "Spring 
Morning/' and now in "The Church at Old 
Lyme" (Fig. 128), Albright Art Gallery, Buf- 
falo, gives us another phase of his art. Inter- 
esting? of course it is. That church is so 




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AND THEIR PAINTERS 175 

typically New England; its tall spire, Ionic 
columns and plain whiteness are much like 
many a historic American church that to-day 
is being repaired and reclaimed as belonging 
to Colonial days. How we are fostering 
the old to gain a past for ourselves! But 
this church at Old Lyme may or may not be 
ancient. The trees that shelter it so lovingly 
are mere striplings, but no carved choir screen 
was ever more lacy or delicate in pattern than 
they. The light sifting through the interlac- 
ing branches and fluttering leaves has gathered 
into itself all the tints of the autumn and has 
left its delicious colour on every object. Can 
you not hear the chimes ring out on the clear 
air or the clock striking its note of warning 
that time is fleeting? Look! the people are 
gathering — the dry leaves crackle under their 
feet — the young people glance shyly at each 
other as the parents cordially grasp each 
other's hands— strains from the organ sum- 
mon all to enter — a hush, then the congrega- 
tion breaks forth, 

"Blest be the tie that binds 
Our hearts in Christian love." 

Silence — the minister prays ! Yes, the spirit 
of worship is in this Church at Old Lyme. 
If it is true that Mr. Hassam uses his figures 



176 AMERICAN PICTURES 

simply to play upon them in his marvellous ren- 
dering of nature, he certainly gives them such 
vitality that the place would be void without 
them. Even in "The Caulker" (Fig. 129), 
Cincinnati Museum, the man attracts us, small 
though his part in the picture may be, not be- 
cause he is human but because there is some- 
thing vital in his being there at all. Again 
colour to Mr. Hassam is a real, an innate 
power. He is really "creating design by 
means of colour," says one critic. 

Possibly one of the most striking features, 
if we may call them such, of the modern Amer- 
ican artist is his choice of subjects. Again 
and again it is some special aspect of the great 
mechanical problems that face the world. In 
"The Caulker" the great hulk of the ocean 
vessel hints at the tremendous traffic on the 
seas; the pictures of the Culebra cut suggest 
the open waterway between the continents ; the 
many paintings of the night furnaces of Pitts- 
burgh tell of the great industries that govern 
nations. Then, too, there are the pictures of 
river dredging, the building of bridges, the dig- 
ging of tunnels, and the laying of railroad 
tracks. We do not say that the artist chooses 
his subject for any other reason than artistic 
value, but we do believe that the dignity of 
labour has no better exponent than the artist 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 177 

when he helps the public to see beauty in the 
work of everyday life. Mr. Kreisler, the emi- 
nent violinist, was right when he said recently : 
"I believe that art is to be the uplifting power 
in America." 

"The Portrait" (Fig. 130), Museum of Fine 
Arts, Syracuse, by J. Alden Weir, is specially 
interesting to us as a likeness of the artist's 
daughter. It is difficult to decide when 
Mr. Weir is at his best, in portraiture or 
landscapes. We feel like saying of his paint- 
ings as Gainsborough said of the work of Sir 
Joshua Reynolds, "How various he is." Syra- 
cuse is fortunate in owning examples in both 
branches of Mr. Weir's art. Again note that 
it is the simplicity of the composition, tem- 
pered with a self-restraint that has eliminated 
everything but the essentials, that charms us. 
The arrangement of the hair, the gown, the 
pose — all are in perfect harmony. There is 
no catering to the ultra-modiste that savours 
of the ridiculous, either in artist or subject. 

In the Metropolitan Museum of Art is Mr. 
Weir's "Red Bridge" (Fig. 131) — an iron 
bridge thrown across the Shetucket River, 
Windham, Conn. Was anything ever more 
picturesque ? And notice how exquisitely deco- 
rative it is. It has the quality of a bit of old 
lace that adds charm to an elegant gown. Mr. 



178 AMERICAN PICTURES 

Weir, born at West Point in 1852, was first 
a pupil of his father, Robert W. Weir, then of 
the National Academy of Design, New York 
City. He went to Paris and studied under 
Gerome in foole des Beaux-Arts. He now 
lives in New York City and is president of the 
National Academy of Design — elected to fill 
the place of Mr. Alexander who resigned just 
before his death. 

Mr. Thomas W. Dewing, a native of Bos- 
ton, 1 85 1, was trained largely in the Julian 
Academy, Paris. His paintings have a qual- 
ity of their own, so insistent that when once 
felt it is impossible to overlook. His pictures 
are like letters from a personal friend; each 
one is distinct, and yet each has the familiar 
phraseology of the writer. In "Writing a 
Letter" (Fig. 132), Museum of Art, Toledo, 
the element of aloofness at first almost says 
"stand off," but the soft persuasiveness of the 
enveloping atmosphere holds us as it also holds 
these two figures in the perfect design. There 
is no emptiness in that room, yet we frankly 
aver that a real room so bare as that would be 
empty; even the personality of two women 
could not illuminate it and make it palpitate 
as has Mr. Dewing with his magic brush. 

His women are exquisite in dainty gowns of 
soft material and tender colours, and their ex- 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 179 

quisiteness is that of women used to selecting 
beautiful apparel, rather than fragile women 
with no power of endurance. Look at these 
two in "Writing a Letter." They have square 
shoulders, with well-developed muscles, and 
finely poised heads and no superfluous flesh to 
interfere with the full use of the nervous tem- 
perament that is the American woman's spe- 
cial asset. A nervous temperament is some- 
thing to be desired, but the "Oh, I am so nerv- 
ous !" habit is to be shunned as one would 
fight a wasting disease. The first can remove 
mountains; a mole-hill overcomes the second. 
Possibly we might be better pleased if Mr. 
Dewing would always represent a robust type 
of American womanhood in his paintings. 
"The Lady with the Macaw" (Fig. 133), Al- 
bright Art Gallery, Buffalo, is a delicate, 
lovely woman and probably has the nervous 
energy that would outstrip many of her 
plumper sisters, yet a wholesome, pink-fleshed 
woman is not only a pleasing picture but 
holds possibilities of great reserve force. We 
love the soft hazy atmosphere Mr. Dewing 
knows so well how to use in developing his 
delicious tones. His colour is like that of ripe 
fruit, mellow and illusive. How the rich, warm 
blood of the American girl of to-day glows un- 
der his atmosphere and colour; and how she 



180 AMERICAN PICTURES 

gains in dignity and poise in his compositions 
so full of strength and repose! We are re- 
minded in many of his paintings of what Mr. 
Kenyon Cox says: "Horizontal lines will sug- 
gest repose; vertical lines will suggest rigid- 
ity and stability; curved lines will convey the 
idea of motion." Our artists need to give our 
American women just these qualities if they 
are to keep abreast of the wholesome, well- 
trained, up-to-date woman and represent her 
as she is in her true womanhood. 

Joseph R. DeCamp was a pupil of Duveneck 
(see page 102), and naturally his work savours 
of Munich. This, however, does not detract 
from his own manner of expressing himself 
in his work. In the "Silver Waist" (Fig. 134) 
he shows a strength in handling his subject that 
marks the ease with which he obtains results. 
Mr. DeCamp inspires confidence because he is 
perfectly sure of himself. His foundation was 
well laid and he never fumbles at his work. 
Not always are his compositions interesting, 
especially those where his women are holding 
vases or cups up to the light. It is one thing 
for the doctor, in Dou's "Dropsical Woman," 
to hold his beaker to the light and another for 
a woman, with no earthly reason, to hold a 
glass to the light. The pose is strained, to say 
the least. 



CHAPTER XX 

TEN AMERICAN PAINTERS— 
(Continued) 

TWACHTMAN— BENSON— TARBELL— REID— 
METCALF— SIMMONS 

HPHE spiritual vision of the late John H. 
**• Twachtman gave him an understanding 
of nature's secrets that few artists have ever 
attained. He seemed to divine the underlying 
principles governing the elements. Unreal and 
unsubstantial were many of Mr. Twachtman's 
visions, when his grasp fell just short of his 
reach, yet they never lost the impelling force 
of his artistic instincts. 

Naturally it is given to few to understand 
his fleeting dreams and wandering sprites that 
mark a spring morning or a gathering mist, 
but none of us can mistake the tremendous 
forces of "Niagara in Winter" (Fig. 135). 
The magnificent strength in the drop of that 
water, made manifest in the foaming, seething 
mass leaping up to the very source of its latent 
energy, is superbly matched in the cold, stern 

181 



i82 AMERICAN PICTURES 

force that grips the laughing, glittering tor- 
rent and piles it high, as in mockery, at the 
very feet of the boasting opponent. Twacht- 
man has here grasped the elemental in nature 
and with a swift, sure brush has laid bare her 
fundamental forces. 

We have often stood beside cascades like 
this very "Waterfall" (Fig. 136), Metropoli- 
tan Museum of Art, and watched the dancing 
stream slip over and around the obstructing 
ledges of rock on its way to the pool below, 
but not until Mr. Twachtman touched it with 
his vitalising, cool, grey-blue hue did we feel, 
with Goethe, that, 

"Water its living strength first shows, 
When obstacles its course oppose." 

Mr. Twachtman was born in Cincinnati, 
Ohio, in 1853, and died at his home in Glouces- 
ter, Mass., in 1902. He first studied with 
Frank Duveneck in his native city, and was 
associated with him again in Venice. He spent 
two years in Munich, and later in Paris came 
under the influence of the French tonalists and 
impressionists. 

Although Frank W. Benson, Edmund C. 
Tarbell and Robert Reid studied together in 
Paris at the Julian Academy and also under 




~<gm. 




Fig. 135— Niagara in Winter. Twachtman. Courtesy of the Macbeth 
Gallery, New York City. 




Fig. 136 — The Waterfall. Twachtman. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum 

of Art. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 183 

Dannat, they are entirely dissimilar in their 
manner of work. Each man accepted the 
teachings of the French masters in his own 
way, transmuting the methods into distinctive 
traits that characterise the works of each. In 
fact, individuality is the dominant note in their 
paintings. Mr. Benson's brush has caught a 
certain brightness of colour and light that 
speaks a language of its own. No one could 
mistake his manner of entangling the sunlight 
in the hair and garments of his open air fig- 
ures. He plays them in the early morning 
light, and as the evening shadows fall he fol- 
lows them in the open field and on the hilltop, 
under sun-shades and in open verandas, ever 
catching the varying quality of sunlight with 
unerring artistic instinct. 

In "Sunshine and Shadow" (Fig. 137) Mr. 
Benson has done more than make a picture 
with exquisite decorative qualities; he has 
added a personal note that goes deeper than 
the mere effect of sunlight, as the title implies. 
These people interest us. The feeling of good 
fellowship existing between them — this mother 
and daughter — echoes in our hearts. Such a 
picture is warm with the comradery of the 
true home. 

In no portrait has Mr. Benson caught the 
vital spark more truly than in his "Portrait of 



1 84 AMERICAN PICTURES 

a Boy" (Fig. 138), Carnegie Institute, Pitts- 
burgh. Curious and a little doubtful is he, 
with a hint of rebellion at being disturbed. 
These are the dominating traits that mark this 
boy, and in those traits this is a universal boy. 
A boy is self-centred, wanting to be let alone; 
a girl is self-centred, expecting notice. It is 
not always that Mr. Benson's portraits have 
the charm and personality of this boy; at times 
he seems so obsessed with the artistic quality 
of his work — making a picture pure and sim- 
ple — that the element of likeness is all but 
eliminated from the portrait. 

Mr. Benson was born in Salem, Mass., 
1862, and on his return from Europe settled 
in Boston. 

Impressionism in Edmund C. TarbeH's 
paintings is a sane and harmonious use of col- 
our, united with sufficient amount of form and 
detail. When we remember how, in the move- 
ment a quarter of a century ago, the pendu- 
lum swung, as usual, to the extreme in the lack 
of all form and detail and in the riotous use 
of violent colour, we are specially gratified 
with the sanity of the men who have come to 
stay. If "colour impression" is the essential 
element of impressionists, then Mr. Tarbell 
has relegated that element to its proper place. 
As we look at the "Woman in Pink and 



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Fig. 137 — Sunshine and Shadow. Benson. Courtesy of the Macbeth 
Gallery, New York City. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 185 

Green" (Fig. 139), Cincinnati Museum, our 
sensation is that produced by harmony. The 
perfectly balanced cool and warm tones of the 
young woman's costume are a vital part of the 
soft rich light that caresses the whole. Then, 
too, the composition is exceedingly attractive 
artistically. It might be a quiet corner in some 
summer hotel; the young woman, sufficient 
unto herself, is in no hurry; the women at 
their embroidery are self-centred — just a bit 
of conventional life of singular charm under 
the refining influence of Mr. Tarbell's brush. 
If only his people had a little more of the ac- 
tive alert element, so characteristic of our time, 
possibly their refinement and sincerity would 
strike a deeper chord in the heart of picture 
lovers. As it is, we love them and go away 
feeling that it was good for to have seen them. 

Mr. Tarbell was born in Boston in 1862 and 
on his return from Europe took up his resi- 
dence in his native city. He has been a teacher 
in the Museum of Fine Arts school for many 
years. That the Boston artists, Mr. Benson 
and Mr. Tarbell and others, have a charac- 
teristic undertone of their own is unquestioned, 
and that their exclusiveness, if we may so name 
it, stands for strength and simplicity is equally 
true. 

"The Miniature" (Fig. 140) Museum of 



186 AMERICAN PICTURES 

Art, Detroit, Mich., is one of Robert Reid's 
brilliant, decorative pictures, in which he has 
combined everything that contributes to form- 
ing the true portrait of a woman. There is the 
artist's usual skill in short broken pastel 
strokes, in a woven network of strong colours, 
leaving the canvas partly covered to enhance 
the vitality of the whole. But aside from all 
this, there is the woman, individual in every 
line from the pose of her head to the flirt of 
her gown around the table leg. Decorative? 
yes, but it is especially so because Mr. Reid 
knew how to catch the woman at the right mo- 
ment. No man, not even an artist, could have 
told this woman how to take that particular 
position. The tender modelling of the head, 
with its glorious hair, is a perfect delight. 

Mr. Reid was born in Stockbridge, Mass., 
1862, and on coming home from abroad made 
his home in New York City. 

When Willard L. Metcalf (1858) painted 
"Midsummer" (Fig. 141) he gave more than 
the impression of a country road in summer; 
he gave the road itself. How often have we 
jogged along that dirt road, feeling the com- 
fort of the cool shade — if there was any cool- 
ness that still summer's day with the sun pour- 
ing its heat over everything — and urging the 
horse along the open places to the next shaded 





I. 




From a Thistle Print. Copyright, Detroit Publishing Co. 
. Fig. 140 — The Miniature. Reid. Courtesy of the Museum of Art, Detroit. 




Fig v 141 — Midsummer. Metcalf. Courtesy of the Macbeth Gallery, 

New York City. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 187 

stretch beyond. Mr. Metcalf thoroughly un- 
derstands the impressionist's methods of high- 
pitched pictures where the feeling of the open 
air is gained by contrasts of pure colour used 
in broken patches, to give vibration and bril- 
liancy. But he usually stops just short of the 
vibration line and lays his paint on thinly and 
smoothly. This gives the quiet power to his 
pictures that makes them so loved by the gen- 
eral public. Not only are his pictures admired 
by the Philistine but, if a dozen and more 
prizes and honourable mentions in this coun- 
try and abroad count for anything, they are 
admired and thought worthy by artists and art 
lovers. A dozen or more galleries, too, have 
specimens of his works. 

Mr. Metcalf was born in Lowell, Mass., 
1858, and now lives in New York City. 

Edward E. Simmons (1852) is widely 
known by his mural painting. He was one of 
the artists chosen for decorating the buildings 
of the Columbian Exposition in 1893, and since 
then his work has been placed in many public 
buildings of our cities and states; he was also 
one of the decorators of the Library of Con- 
gress at Washington. The study of American 
Mural Painting is a subject by itself, of the 
greatest importance in the development of 
American painting". 



CHAPTER XXI 
WINTER 

SYMONS — REDFIELD — OCHTMAN— SCHO- 
FIELD^ HARRISON— ROSEN— CARLSON 
—RYDER 

/^ARDNER SYMONS (1863), like some 
^-* of the later men, seems so largely depend- 
ent on the Frost King for his inspiration that 
he naturally slips into the winter group. It 
is our province, as the lay public, to try to un- 
derstand the works of artists who are sincerely 
and sanely picturing for us the world we live 
in. We may not personally enjoy some par- 
ticular picture, but we can be sensitive to 
whether it rings true or not. To those of us 
who are familiar with country scenes all the 
year round the paintings of our landscapists 
will form quite a complete monthly calendar. 
We are becoming very well acquainted with 
the winter king; we come upon him so often in 
the various galleries, and are conscious that 
his stern, uncompromising reign is a favourite 

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AMERICAN PICTURES 189 

theme of the year's seasons. It is exceedingly 
interesting to follow the artists' treatment of 
winter — as various as the artists are different 
one from another. 

These artists are dealing with light, and 
never is light so fickle as when it plays about 
the snowdrifts and through the stripped trees. 
The "Sunlight in the Woods" (Fig. 142), Car- 
negie Public Library, Fort Worth, Texas, as 
Mr. Symons shows it to us, is frankly co- 
quettish slipping in and out, catching this bare 
trunk and that snow bank, this dark evergreen 
and that bubbling water tumbling over the 
rough stones. The wood and stream are full 
of the glee of laughing children playing hide- 
and-seek in the soft clean snow and hiding be- 
hind boulder and tree trunk. In imagination 
you can see the children; and do you not feel 
the gladness and sparkle that the winter sun 
has brought to the wood and stream and bar- 
ren trees, standing knee-deep in the snow- 
drifts? Mr. Symons has a certain American 
independence that is delightful. He is bound 
by no rule that does not harmonise with his 
own originality. His independence is con- 
trolled by clear-sighted good sense. 

The "River in Winter" (Fig. 143), Institute 
of Art, Minneapolis, by Mr. Symons, is 
flowing steadily through the valley, where 



190 AMERICAN PICTURES 

for ages it has been eating out the crumbling 
banks, making a lake of itself, then drawing 
in its forces because the rocks and trees com- 
pel it, only again, however, to tear out new ma- 
terial with its collected force. Mr. Symons 
has vividly portrayed the history of that sul- 
len water in its devastating moods. The heavy 
cold of the dark ice-laden river penetrates to 
the very marrow — the air is cold; the snow is 
cold ; the water is cold ; not even the sun cares 
to linger, for the winter king is in no mood 
to give out joy, though he makes us wish for 
the open fire in the home near the river. 

These two scenes show how sympathetically 
he approaches his subjects and how susceptible 
he is to the ever-changing aspect of nature. 
We might name our landscapists "Interpre- 
ters of Nature," for such is the burden of their 
theme, only unfortunately not always are their 
renderings understood by us, the public. When 
not comprehended, both they and their pictures 
, fall by the way. 

Of the American landscapists now nearing 
the half -century mark probably Mr. Redfield 
is the most widely known, though as one critic 
says : "He was no precocious prodigy, and it is 
doubtful if any one realised . . . that he was 
destined to become one of the foremost paint- 
ers of America, whose work would receive gen- 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 191 

eral and substantial recognition before he had 
turned forty/' He was the first American 
landscapist from whom the French Govern- 
ment bought a picture to hang in the Luxem- 
bourg Gallery, Paris. 

It would be impossible for Mr. Redfield to 
paint a hopeless winter, yet he never fails to 
make us feel the true spirit of the frost king. 
There is no sentimental masking of the deso- 
lation that follows in the wake of snow and ice. 
At one time we feel the light fluffy snow that, 
is soft and warm, like a wool comforter; then 
again the heavy wet snow that weighs down, 
like a cheap cotton comforter, with no sem- 
blance of warmth and comfort in it. He often 
changes his point of view in dealing with the 
cranky, uncertain king of winter, but he does 
it to help us to a better appreciation of the 
whimsical vagaries of a monarch subject to 
powers beyond him. A certain desolateness 
hangs over the bare hillside and heavy flowing 
river in "The Crest" (Fig. 144), John Herron 
Art Institute, Indianapolis, but the tiny set- 
tlement snuggled against the rough sidling 
road and the glistening show caught in the hol- 
lows suggest that hope still lingers. His keen 
appreciation of the latent power buried under 
the snow and ice and hidden in the gaunt leaf- 
less trees infuses a sense of life. The barren- 



192 AMERICAN PICTURES 

ness of the aspect gives no hint of a dead world 
— nature is simply accumulating forces as she 
sleeps. 

When Mr. Redfield chooses winter as his 
theme in the "Laurel Brook" (Fig. 145), and 
pictures it in such frank, simple language, we 
love him. The optimistic spirit of that scene 
would dissipate the worst case of the blues. 
The brook pays no heed to old winter except 
to laugh as it works its way in and out over 
the obstructions thrown in its way. The laurel 
shakes her dark shiny leaves and laughs as 
the white burden slips to the ground. Even 
the stark trees are snug with their feet buried 
in the soft snow. The short strokes, used with 
the restraint of one who is not carried away by 
a fad, have given just the right amount of 
aliveness to that dark, merry brook. 

Possibly because December was Mr. Red- 
field's birth month he was given a deeper 
knowledge of the old winter king. Certain 
it is he never fails to give the thrills that the 
biting air brings, whether it is to shiver as the 
dampness clutches us or to laugh as we glide 
over the soft snow. 

It is cold along the "Delaware River" (Fig. 
146) when the snow is caught in patches and 
skims of ice hold the water here and there, so 
no wonder the picture makes the flesh pimple 




Fig. 145 — Laurel Brook. Redfield. Courtesy of the Albright 
Art Gallery, Buffalo. 




From a Thistle Print. Copyright, Detroit Publishing Co. 

Fig. 14G — Delaware River. Redfield. Courtesy of the Corcoran Gallery 
of Art, Washington. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 193 

a little. Only the other day I saw a number of 
paintings of winter scenes — one was Mr. Red- 
field's — and then realised as never before that 
it is Mr. Redfield's sympathetic touch that 
warms our hearts. He is picturing something 
dear to him, and the personal note in his sim- 
ple lines appeals to us at once. Nothing ex- 
travagant, nothing overdrawn, just candid 
truth, is the element that made the artificial 
winter scenes slip in the background. The 
"Delaware River" was one of the paintings 
purchased for the Corcoran collection from the 
First Exhibition of Contemporary American 
Oil Paintings in 1907, held in the Corcoran 
Gallery of Art. 

Possibly we never saw "Sycamore Hill" 
(Fig. 147), Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, 
until Mr. Redfield showed it to us— 

"we're made so that we love 
First when we see them painted, things we have passed 
Perhaps a hundred times nor cared to see," 

but when an artist whose heart is alive to 
God's universe fixes on canvas a bit of nature 
with the breath of heaven in it, we love it. Mr. 
Redfield is widening our ideas of winter and 
helping us to feel the pent-up joy of the close- 
locked earth. 

Edward W. Redfield, born in Bridgeport, 



194 AMERICAN PICTURES 

Delaware in 1868, is decidedly individual, yet 
his individuality is not of the eccentric kind. 
He works almost exclusively out of doors, and 
very rapidly, so that many canvases are the 
result of a season's work. To have one of 
his winter scenes on the wall of a living-room 
brings joy the season through. In winter the 
home is the cosier because of the presence of 
his literal portrayal of winter, and in summer 
there comes from it a breath of crisp cold air 
deliciously refreshing. Many of his paintings 
are scenes from near his home in the Delaware 
Valley country, but their import cannot be con- 
fined to any special section ; wherever is found 
snow and ice there is the essence of his art. 

"December" (Fig. 148), Carnegie Public 
Library, Fort Worm, Texas, is certainly a raw 
bleak month in this section, wherever it is, and 
the scene itself is not one to hold us, but Mr. 
Ochtman commands us to halt. Now we begin 
to realise that here is beauty of the most en- 
chanting kind. See how well balanced it is. 
Our eyes follow along the narrow pass between 
the low sloping hills and the broken line of 
trees, conscious that the sunbeam struggling 
to break through the clouds is calling us. We 
see its light reflected in the pool in the fore- 
ground and follow it on and on, realising that 
we are under a spell. After all, is the scene 




Copyright, Carnegie Institute. 

Tig. 147 — Sycamore Hill. Redfield. Courtesy of the Carnegie Institute, 

Pittsburgh. 



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JStLM 




Fig. 148 — December. Ochtman. Courtesy of the Carnegie Public Library 
Fort Worth, Texas. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 195 

bleak and drear? Is it not rather one of 
hope? 

These men have opened vistas in the realm 
of light of which we never before were con- 
scious. We may not always agree with their 
methods, possibly because of ignorance, but 
they have set us to thinking. The lovely soft 
radiance that envelopes this winter scene 
speaks to our souls; we are learning to love 
winter scenes when the brush of a genius 
shows them to us. 

Leonard Ochtman, born in Zonnemaire, Hol- 
land, in 1854, came to America when twelve 
years old and settled in Albany. He worked 
in a wood-engraver's office in that city but, 
except for that training, he is self-taught in 
the art of painting. He lives at Cot, Conn. 

W. Elmer Schofield (1867), a native of 
Philadelphia, was first trained in the Pennsyl- 
vania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, and 
then studied in Paris. He is now living in his 
native city. One would scarcely think of us- 
ing scenes from a snow-covered field, a river 
of broken ice, or shadeless trees scattered over 
undulating ground ornamented with snow- 
patches for decorative patterns, yet Mr. Scho- 
field does. His pictures are like so many pat- 
terns for tapestry work and as varied as those 
taken from the kaleidoscope. 



196 AMERICAN PICTURES 

When he painted "A January Day" (Eig. 
149), Cincinnati Museum, he attained just that 
quality of atmospheric illusiveness that leads us 
through this open wood into the fields and 
then beyond Into the unknown. We care not 
for the hard broken patches of snow nor for 
the bare places where brush-heaps and stones 
are gathered, as we follow his lead. The spirit 
of winter is in this open wood. The dancing 
light and shade, the blue cloud-flecked sky, the 
tall grey trees, and the shorter glossy green 
ones, the whistling wind creaking the bare 
branches and soughing in the evergreens — Mr. 
Schofield has made us conscious of it all. And 
colour ! what is the colour of nature in winter 
but the haunting sense of something gone or 
something that is coming again? Even the 
glow of the setting sun in the west is but for 
a moment. The real radiance is the under- 
tone coming from within the bare trees and 
brown earth. Every true painter of winter 
makes us feel the hidden power temporarily 
held in leash. 

The "Old Mills on the Somme" (Fig. 150), 
by Mr. Schofield, is a quiet scene, yet we feel 
that the whirr of the stones and the hum of the 
belts fill the air with the music of industry. 
The open door and the snug well-kept air of 
the buildings indicate the thrift of labour. The 




from u Thistle Print. Copyright, Detroit Publishing Co. 

Fig. 151 — Woodstock Meadows in Winter. Harrison. 
Courtesy of the Museum of Art, Toledo. 




Fig. 152 — Frozen River. 



Rosen. Courtesy of the Delgado Museum of 
Art, New Orleans. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 197 

ancient buildings beside the picturesque, rag- 
ged old stream, peer anxiously into the deeper 
pool and smile as they see their own faces. The 
snow clinging to the stones and water-grass 
seems to catch up the smile and give it back to 
us. The shimmer of green and purple-brown 
that lurks in the shadows and around the bare 
trees has the tantalising quality of the opal and 
defies too close scrutiny of its exact tint. 

"Woodstock Meadows in Winter" (Fig. 
151), Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio, by Birge 
Harrison, is a very personal scene. Let us 
stand in the loft window of the barn and allow 
our eye to follow the course of the little stream. 
Yes, it is the same brook we paddled through 
barefooted only a few summers ago. See, the 
murky sky smiles at times. The water 
sparkles and glistens as each tiny drop acts 
like a self-appointed mirror. We are seeing 
a beauty in this leaden day and this cold 
running water that we would scarcely have 
taken time to see had not the artist shown 
it to us. Mr. Harrison says: "I believe it 
is one of the artist's chief functions to watch 
for the rare moods when nature wafts aside 
the veil of the commonplace and shows us her 
inner soul in some bewildering vision of poetic 
beauty." 

Mr. Harrison is a native of Philadelphia 



198 AMERICAN PICTURES 

(1854) and was first trained in the Pennsyl- 
vania Academy of Fine Arts and then studied 
at Ecole des Beaux Arts, Paris. As early as 
1882 the French government bought one of 
his paintings. He is also well known as a critic 
and writer on art. 

The painting about which a wholesome sen- 
timent clings is "Frozen River" (Fig. 152), by 
Charles Rosen (1878), Delgado Museum of 
Art, New Orleans. The museum has two pay- 
days each week and the first picture purchased 
from the admission fees (25 cents each) was 
"Frozen River." How quickly our interest is 
enlisted and how grateful we are for the wise 
selection ! 

Mr. Rosen, a native of Pennsylvania and a 
pupil of Mr. William M. Chase, is young in 
years, but already he has had many marks of 
honour and respect in prizes and club member- 
ships. His works speak for him in no uncertain 
language. The scene of the "Frozen River" 
is of no special significance, but the intense 
cold of a winter morning brooding over it is 
that of any river when the mercury drops be- 
low zero. How plainly we understand the 
treachery of the undercurrent that comes to 
the open under the tree and bushes ! We feel 
that unsuspected airholes lurk under the white 
surface. What a splendid example of con- 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 199 

tending forces are the tumbled and contorted 
rapids, caught at last by the stronger force! 
Who could look at this strong, vigorous paint- 
ing of winter's tightest mood without a feel- 
ing of weakness to battle with it? The cold 
lowering sky hovers over the colder white ex- 
panse, and even the dark green-blue water is 
struggling against the power that threatens 
it. Mr. Rosen has caught the spirit of winter 
and has made us feel its power. 

But in "The Brook in Autumn" (Fig. 153) 
Mr. Rosen is equally forceful in foreshadowing 
the coming winter. The tang in the air and the 
glint in the water warn us that the sun is losing 
his power. 

Another artist — one of our younger men 
(1875) — is portraying winter in a peculiarly 
sympathetic mood. Over and over again Mr. 
John F. Carlson takes us to the woods to show 
us how the snow lodges on the trees, always on 
the north side, and how the hollows are filled 
to overflowing and how the sun is seeking out 
every snow patch as a fit place for his dance. 
Not long since it was my joy to see a dozen or 
more of these woodland scenes at the Macbeth 
Gallery, New York City. I felt the years slip 
away and again I was exploring every nook 
and corner of the old woods at the home farm. 
Again Father was saying: "In a moment, 



200 AMERICAN PICTURES 

daughter, we will reach the open space." And 
sure enough there was the bright spot. The 
big tree trunks stood apart, as it were, that 
we might catch the glory of the full sunshine. 
And the "Woodland Brook" (Fig. 154) ! Who 
has ever made a truer picture of the dark, rest- 
less water insisting on its right of way regard- 
less of snow and cold? Although Mr. Carl- 
son is a native of Kalmar Lan, Sweden, he is a 
true American in his woodland scenes. 

Chauncey F. Ryder is also an artist who finds 
poetry in stripped trees and bare hillsides; in 
sullen waters and wind swept fields. His sym- 
pathetic appreciation of nature has revealed 
to him many of her secrets and made him pe- 
culiarly sensitive to her moods. When he in- 
terprets for us "Pack Monadnock" (Fig. 155) 
in its undress and bare grey head, we at once 
feel the tang of the New England winter in 
the air. It is scarcely necessary to explain 
that Monadnock is an isolated mountain in 
southwestern New Hampshire, for Mr. Ryder 
has so specialised the individual character of 
the piled up mass that he has revealed it to us. 
The snug homes, each with its element of aloof- 
ness, have an air of exclusiveness that speaks 
volumes about restricted property. "We," they 
seem to say, "are a privileged class; this lone 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 201 

peak is ours; intruders are warned to keep 
off." 

Fortunately for us the artist thought differ- 
ently and has invited us to enjoy a rare treat. 
And what a wonderful glimpse we have of the 
hoary monster ! The scattered homes, centres 
of human interest, are an added charm to the 
scene. The tall, gaunt trees in the foreground 
acting as sentinels are a setting for the picture 
that enhances the beauty of the whole. They 
give a sense of stability to the level space that 
offsets the almost stern aspect of the bald 
mountain beyond. And how lovingly the dis- 
tant trees and low shrubs snuggle close to the 
ascending sides as they climb toward the sum- 
mit. 

Mr. Ryder has a most convincing way with 
trees. He not only makes us feel their power 
as community centres, but at times, as in his 
painting "The Makers of Magic," privately 
owned, we are conscious of the haunts of dry- 
ads and fauns. Here are tall, straight, bare- 
trunked trees gathered in a close group with 
their tops joined and the sun sifting through 
— each tree the home of a nymph and the open 
space a sunlit ball room inviting them to the 
dance. The spirit of the past is awakened by 
the magic makers until in every tree trunk lurks 
a fawn, a dryad or a nymph. Wait a moment 



202 AMERICAN PICTURES 

and we will see them come flocking out and 
again the woods will ring with song and laugh- 
ter. We would live in a prosaic world were it 
not that we are all makers of magic. We are 
all building our own castles in Spain and peo- 
pling them with creatures of our own brain. 
Let us see to it that we keep our imagination, 
for then we will keep our youth. Much of our 
real joy is in the things of our own creation 
and most of those things are mere phantoms of 
the mind. But when an artist in pictures or 
words makes permanent these imaginings he 
touches our hearts and we are pleased. 

Mr. Ryder was born in Danbury, Conn., in 
1868. He studied in the Chicago Art Insti- 
tute and then went to Paris. While in Paris, 
in 1907, he had the honour of being Awarded 
Honourable Mention from the French Salon. 



CHAPTER XXII 
BEAUX— HAWTHORNE— CASSATT- 

iyr ISS CECILIA BEAUX Uterally forged 
her way to success. Nothing was too 
small for her to use in gaining a definite end. 
At first it was certain geological survey work, 
then china painting, then crayon portraits from 
photographs, and much of the time teaching, 
always gaining knowledge and applying it to 
her art. Completely absorbed in doing her 
best, whatever her task, inch by inch she gained 
power, and, in the words of William James, 
she suddenly became conscious that she was 
one of the competent ones of the world and 
that the world acknowledged her as a master- 
painter. 

A master-painter Miss Beaux certainly is 
and never is she more masterful than in her 
portraits of young girls. Only an artist who 
was in perfect sympathy with the ambitions of 
girlhood could have painted "The Dancing 
Lesson" (Fig. 156), in the Richard Watson 
Gilder Home, New York City. These sisters, 

203 



204 AMERICAN PICTURES 

the daughters of the late Richard Watson 
Gilder, show the perfection of grace and nat- 
uralness. Could anything give a truer idea of 
sisterly solicitude than the older girl's manner 
in leading the little one through the steps of 
the dance? The firm grasp of the little hand 
and the words of encouragement coming from 
her parted lips are reflected in the extended 
foot and pleased smile of the younger sister. 
We seem to hear the music of the dance and 
to see the poetry of moving figures as we 
stand before this charming group so perfect 
in its simplicity. 

One of the most charming portraits in all 
American art is Miss Beaux's "Ernesta" 
(Frontispiece), a late acquisition to the Met- 
ropolitan Museum of Art. The young woman 
is not unknown to us, for in 1896 she appeared, 
a tiny tot holding the hand of her nurse, in the 
Salon of Champ de Mars, Paris, together with 
"A New England Woman" and several others 
by Miss Beaux. Just here let me quote from 
M. Henri Rochefort, a prominent critic, who 
wrote of Miss Beaux's portrait of Dr. Grier 
in the Salon of 1896: "I am compelled to 
admit, not without some chagrin, that not one 
of our female artists, Mile. Abbema included, 
is strong enough to compete with the lady who 
has given us this year the portrait of Dr. 




Fig. 156 — The Dancing Lesson. Beaux. Private Collection. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 205 

Grier. Composition, flesh, texture, even draw- 
ing — everything is there, without affectation 
and without seeking for an effect." 

Miss Beaux painted Ernesta, her niece, with 
her nurse first and the latest one our own 
"Ernesta." When Ernesta entered the gallery 
where she hangs in the museum, her person- 
ality asserted itself at once. She softened 
and harmonised and adjusted her surround- 
ings, drawing all eyes to herself yet em- 
phasising the beauty around her. She is 
lovely in her simplicity — alert and eager for 
life, yet w T ith a poise of manner that brooks no 
liberties. This picture belongs in every girl's 
school in America. It stands as an incentive 
to simplicity in dress, reserve, eagerness for 
the good things of life, and girlishness in 
manner. To say that the work is superb is to 
reiterate that Miss Beaux is a master-painter 
and that her pictures are masterpieces. 

"A New England Woman" (Fig. 157), by 
Miss Beaux, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine 
Arts, Philadelphia, one of the paintings ex- 
hibited at the Paris Salon in 1896, took the 
French people by storm. In acknowledgment 
of her talents she was given the honour of 
associate membership in the Societe Nationale 
des Beaux Arts and four years later, after 
exhibiting in the Paris Exhibition, she was 



206 AMERICAN PICTURES 

selected an associataire, a rare honour for a 
woman. Miss Beaux inevitably keeps in close 
sympathy with her sitters — she is not repre- 
senting a type but a particular person. The 
article "a" gives exactly the idea, for though 
no name is given we feel that the New Eng- 
land Woman is some one the artist knew, and 
she has made us know her too. There is much 
that is New England, however, in this special 
woman. She may not live in the Eastern 
States but she has the air that marks the de- 
scendants of Puritan blood. This portrait be- 
longs to the earlier years of the artist's work 
when she often made her pictures studies in 
white, black and grey — and she does now, for 
that matter. These studies show just the 
intimate quality that portrays character. This 
woman's habit was white; she decked herself, 
her chair, her bed, her stand, her doorway in 
white because white suited her. The touches 
of colour that peep out at us are like flashes of 
humour that come unexpectedly in the conver- 
sation. 

In the picture of the "Mother and Child" 
(Fig. 158), Museum of Fine Arts, Syracuse, 
N. Y., Charles W. Hawthorne is at his best. 
The young woman is a beautiful type of 
motherhood. The mystery of a new life lies 
in the depths of those wide-open eyes, yet she 




5 s 




u 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 207 

scarcely comprehends its meaning". She feels 
the pride of possession as never before, for a 
great responsibility is knocking at her heart; 
the faint smile of ownership is giving place 
to the awe that comes when the young mother 
first recognises that the child is her very own. 
How lovely is the wealth of midnight hair that 
like an aureola frames her face and how the 
tender colour of her robe emphasises the warm 
flesh and draws us very close to her ! We love 
the baby. 

Probably nothing that Mr. Hawthorne has 
done in the past or will do in the future will 
live more truly as a masterpiece than "The 
Trousseau" (Fig. 159), Metropolitan Museum 
of Art. The young girl is the embodiment of 
innocent wonder as to what the future means. 
She sees a mysterious land—a land filled with 
perplexing questions. She is to enter this land 
with the man she loves, and she trusts him. It 
is a solemn journey. The mother feels the re- 
sponsibility of it, for she knows ; the daughter, 
dimly conscious, trusts. 

Mr. Hawthorne has the rare quality of pleas- 
ing the public without lowering his standards. 
He makes us feel the intrinsic worth of his 
people ; they have like passions with us. One 
needs but watch the visitors stop before the 
painting of "The Trousseau" to understand 



208 AMERICAN PICTURES 

that the pubic does appreciate the best in art. 
If Mr. Hawthorne is a a painter for the love 
of painting" he certainly paints many pictures 
that we all love. 

There are little personal incidents connected 
with Mr. Hawthorne's young days as an artist 
that endear him to us and help us to better un- 
derstand his perception of the inner life of his 
sitters. One of these incidents had to do with 
his practice days at Shinnecock where Mr. 
William M. Chase was conducting his famous 
criticisms before a large and admiring class of 
students. Mr, Hawthorne's enthusiasm for 
his chosen work was great, though he was not 
among the privileged ones to attend the dis- 
tinguished teacher's classes. One day, how- 
ever, he was sketching on the beach when Mr. 
Chase came swinging along. Not specially 
noticing young Hawthorne, but possibly think- 
ing him one of his own students, he stopped 
and looking closely at the sketch, asked: 

"Young man, why don't you come to my 
criticisms?" Mr. Hawthorne hesitated, prob- 
ably not wishing to give the real reason, but 
Mr. Chase, in his quick nervous manner, 
added : 

"Come to the next one," and walked on. 
This was the desire of young Hawthorne's 
heart. The Chase students soon understood 






Fig. 161 — Morning Bath. Cassatt. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum 

of Art. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 209 

the state of affairs and brought young Haw- 
thorne to the next day's criticism with his 
picture. He chose his seat in the corner on 
the topmost tier of benches, and looked down 
on the assembled students and the great 
teacher. It was Mr. Chase's habit to put a 
canvas on the easel and call out, "Whose 
picture is this?" The owner would stand up 
and then the criticism was given. On this day 
everything proceeded as usual until Mr. Chase 
put a special picture on the easel; instead of 
asking the usual question, he turned and faced 
the corner where Mr. Hawthorne sat. Rais- 
ing his ringer and pointing straight at him, he 
said: 

"Young man, you'll be a painter !" It was 
several minutes before the enthusiastic stu- 
dents were ready for the next criticism. 

Mr. Hawthorne was a pupil of Mr. Chase 
and, like his master, is now an art teacher him- 
self — one of the most noted in America. He 
has a home in Provincetown, Cape Cod, Mass. 
Mr. Hawthorne was born in Maine in 1872. 

Possibly no American artist was more di- 
rectly moulded artistically by Manet, the 
French impressionist, than Miss Mary Cassatt. 
But Manet's moulding changed not one whit 
the native talent of the young painter. She 
simply responded to the seeking for essentials 



210 AMERICAN PICTURES 

and when that idea was firmly grasped, to- 
gether with the austerity of Degas, she began 
her work as a free agent in art, and is con- 
tinuing her career as such. 

No one for a moment would accuse Miss 
Cassatt of being an imitator after looking at 
her "Mother and Child" (Fig. 160) painted in 
1904. Neither is she any less an American 
because they are French in a French park. 
Over and over again she pictures a mother and 
her child — the child a good, wholesome prod- 
uct of nature with every function in working 
condition and the mother alive to the needs of 
a healthy, growing young human animal. 

We are conscious that Miss Cassatt has 
gained a certain independence with the passing 
years as we compare the "Morning Bath 
(Mother and Child)/' in the Metropolitan Mu- 
seum of Art (Fig. 161), painted the last of the 
nineteenth century, with the mother and child 
above. In the "Morning Bath" her modelling 
is harder and the colour harsher. But how 
well the sturdy little body, firm in its elasticity, 
shows the active power of growing muscles! 
See how the little fingers grasp the mother's 
gown and the toes stretch with the compelling 
force of growth. Fortunately, time is toning 
the vivid green background and rather cold sur- 
roundings into a delightful cosy corner of the 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 211 

nursery where centres the life of the mother 
and her child. One of the strong points, and 
there are very many of them, in Miss Cassatt's 
paintings, is the ripening quality which de- 
velops with time. 

The artist's mastery in the technic of art and 
her courage in working out her own problems 
in her pictures have given her a place of hon- 
our among artists. Although she persistently 
keeps motherhood before us, yet her reiteration 
never for one moment bores us, for each group 
is individual. The personality of the mother is 
always distinct and the colour and handling 
are ever adapted to the particular mother and 
the special child — every baby has its own per- 
sonal magnetism and is not "just a baby like all 
others." Miss Cassatt understands so thor- 
oughly the muscular development of the grow- 
ing child that her various pictures might well 
be adopted as models in the physical develop- 
ment of children. Then again look at the 
wholesome attitude of the mothers as she pic- 
tures them. How sane they are in instinctive 
tenderness and solicitude — a beautiful re- 
minder that motherhood, coeval with the begin- 
nings of the race, demands the use of mother- 
hood function! 

Miss Cassatt is a native of Pittsburgh, Pa., 
and has her home in France. We much regret 



212 AMERICAN PICTURES 

that our young American mothers are not be- 
ing immortalised by her brush, for we need her 
honest, truth-seeking eyes and her courage to 
picture for them the duty and joy of American 
motherhood. Mr. Melchers says: "Mary 
Cassatt, ah, there is a great artist! She is a 
brilliant, intellectual woman, and stands at the 
head of the American women painters. I ad- 
mire her and her work extremely/' 



CHAPTER XXIII 

GROLL— WILLIAMS— GENTH— LIE— 
KROLL 

IN no country has nature specialised more 
* efficiently than in the United States. Be- 
tween the glaciers of Alaska and the ever- 
glades of Florida she has wrought natural won- 
ders and emphasised abundance and sterility 
of the nth power. Not often, however, have 
our artists sought out the unusual— unusual 
only because of our ignorance — for subjects of 
their art. So it is with peculiar interest that 
we enjoy the "Silver Clouds, Arizona" (Fig. 
162), by Albert L. Groll (1866). Until Mr. 
Groll began to picture Arizona, under the 
varying conditions of wind and weather, we 
have never realised the artistic possibilities of 
the desert lands of that marvellous state. 

The broad, low country, with its sage brush, 
bunch grass and cacti clinging close to the arid 
yellow soil, stretches away to the horizon and 
over it hovers a sky full of silvery clouds, mak- 
ing a never-to-be-forgotten picture. Deserts 

213 



214 AMERICAN PICTURES 

these plateaus certainly are until man comes 
with his irrigating plant, then "the desert shall 
blossom like the rose." Mr. Groll never makes 
a hopeless desert out of his Arizona scenes. 
No, he gives an undertone of gold and silver 
that sparkles and shimmers on bush and sand 
and cloud, suggesting boundless wealth. We 
feel that these desert scenes are as truly God's 
great out-of-doors as the mountains and the 
fruitful valleys. 

Mr. Groll, born in New York City, where 
he now lives, was largely trained in Munich. 
He is represented in many of our large gal- 
leries and has been recognised by honourable 
mention, medals and prizes in America and 
Europe. 

Three hundred years ago Nicholas Poussin 
painted landscapes largely as settings for his 
classical figures, and to-day our American idyl- 
lists are showing much the same spirit. Having 
the advantage, however, of three centuries of 
training in landscape painting, they are evolv- 
ing pictures so full of the joy of living that 
they seem all but true to life. Nothing could 
be more ideally beautiful as a piece of decora- 
tion than Frederick Ballard Williams' "Sum- 
mer" (Fig. 163). Never were shades of colour 
more exquisite — flesh and gowns, lapping tide 
and floating clouds, rocks and mosses blend as 




Fig. 1G2— Silver Clouds. Groll. Courtesy of the Macbeth Gallery, 
New York City. 




Fig. 163 — Summer. Williams. Courtesy of the Macbeth Gallery, 
New York City. 




Fig. 164 — Woodland Pool. Genth. Courtesy of the Memorial Art Gallery, 

Rochester. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 215 

harmoniously as instruments in an orchestra. 
Mr. Williams is sounding a note, with his 
Venetian figures set in a modern landscape, 
that is decidedly attractive to the lay public. 
They probably do lack the rugged strength of 
the insurgents who are crowding out the weak- 
lings, but they hold their own and sweeten art 
with their charm. 

Surely a fairy has touched Miss Lillian 
Genth with its magic wand and then trans- 
ported her to some woodland dell where only 
fairies dwell. Not that this "Woodland Pool" 
(Fig. 164), Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, 
N. Y., cannot be found on this old earth 
of ours, but it has taken Miss Genth, with her 
"vital, optimistic, stimulating" art, to find it 
for us. Over and over she draws us aside 
from the work-a-day world into lovely wood- 
land retreats and there quiets and soothes our 
overheated brains. Her nude figures, breath- 
ing a wholesome sane joy, are as much a part 
of the secluded dell as the trees, the pool and 
the sky. How empty this retreat would be 
without the warmth of the lovely vision in the 
flesh! The light playing upon the healthy 
form is like the wind playing upon the swaying 
branches. 

When Miss Genth firt posed a nude figure 
out-of-doors in Brittany, and the light played 



216 AMERICAN PICTURES 

over the pink-tinted surface, she found the 
key that unlocks a new world to us. And later, 
under the brilliant American light, she fitted 
her key and unlocked the secret of sunlight 
playing upon vital human flesh. Her figures 
in the open and beside the waters and under 
the spreading branches have assumed the char- 
acter of an autograph and, like the latter, can 
never grow monotonous to those who love 
them. Miss Genth is already represented in 
many of our public museums. 

One of the younger artists of to-day who 
has struck an original note is Jonas Lie 
(1880). He is original not so much in the 
choice of subjects, for others have used much 
the same, but in his manner of treatment. We 
have again an artist who sees the poetry of 
labour, but he sees it f ron an angle all his own. 
At first we might think his individuality is due 
to the section of the country he has chosen — he 
has painted many pictures of the Panama Canal 
section — but in the "Morning on the River" 
(Fig. 165), Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, 
the same personal note is there. The sense of 
depth and height in both the "Morning on the 
River" and the "Culebra Cut," Metropolitan 
Museum of Art, is that of strength and dura- 
bility and also emphasises the power of man's 
mind to overcome great natural obstacles. 




O A) 



'£& 




Fig. 166 — The Conquerors. Lie. Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum 

of Art. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 217 

Now look at "The Conquerors" (Fig. 
166) as the Culebra Cut is often called, 
and see how the bigness of the idea has 
gripped the artist. He thinks big artistic 
problems and, unafraid, places those prob- 
lems before us. Height and depth lose noth- 
ing of their mystery, nothing of their im- 
pelling force, and yet both are brought un- 
der the dominating power of man and both are 
compelled to yield and become servants in his 
hands. The marvellous steel-blue atmosphere 
binds and rivets into perfect symmetry the stu- 
pendous problem. Nothing seems insignificant. 
The cars moving in the depth of the cut, the 
men toiling up the grade, the cranes lifting the 
loosened dirt are all significant and necessary 
parts of the great scheme. 

Mr. Lie saw not only the possibility of per- 
pendicular lines in his days with the sky- 
scraper and Brooklyn Bridge, but his artistic 
skill grew with his expanded vision. Not al- 
ways do our artists keep pace in their means 
of expression with the extended visions of 
country and development. Too often bombast 
kills where simplicity would have lived. Mr. 
Lie's keen sense of the essentials of big things 
is the quality that holds us. His perfect mastery 
of the thing he is representing compels our at- 
tention and appeals to our understanding. Not 



218 AMERICAN PICTURES 

that our aesthetic sense is unstirred, far from 
it. Who can stand before Culebra Cut and not 
feel a glow of pleasure in the harmony of col- 
our and line and in the feeling of being in- 
itiated into the big things of life? Surely Jonas 
Lie has a message and a vision that are true 
and noble. 

There is a wonderful charm in his straight 
lines — they give such stability to his composi- 
tions, and the strange glamour of light and 
shade and steel-blue colour grips us like steel 
girders. We feel almost under the power 
of some titanic monster, only that the pale 
light creeping in lifts us as it follows the 
straight columns of smoke reaching skyward 
and glints the scuttling clouds with ever-vary- 
ing tints. The artist's early training under 
Brooklyn Bridge and beneath skyscrapers has 
given him an astonishing insight into the artis- 
tic value of vertical lines. 

Mr. Lie's pictures are found in many of the 
galleries over the country. In fact, the public 
is recognising that Mr. Lie has come to stay. 
He was born in Norway, but most of his train- 
ing was gained in the National Academy of 
Design and Arts Students' League in New 
York City. 

Albert Leon Kroll is recording big achieve- 
ments in the mechanical world, and his records 




Fig. 168— The River Front. Kroll. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 219 

are not simply of material building. Into 
"Building New York" (Fig. 167) has entered 
the soul of the builder as well as his brain. 
Mr. Kroll has a vision of big things and also 
the power to visualise on canvas commensurate 
with the bigness of his theme. One cannot 
look long at "Building New York" without 
feeling the sense of elation. He lifts one into 
loftier conceptions, not because of the height 
of the structure, but because the lines lead sky- 
ward. The labourers are not necessarily 
earth-bound, for the placing of every stone 
and brick and iron girder is a necessary link 
in the completed building. Their skill alone has 
made possible the realisation of the architect's 
vision. 

Mr. Kroll, with strong, vigorous brush- 
strokes, is giving a solidity and worthwhileness 
to his construction-pictures that stand for bet- 
ter things in the world of labour. The "River 
Front" (Fig. 168) has the smell of fishing 
smacks, steam tugs, river barges, warehouses 
and long-shore's men true to the activities of 
any waterfront. Interesting? Of course it is ! 
Life among these rough, raw materials is re- 
duced to the simplest elements, and Mr. Kroll 
knows how to represent the strong, firm es- 
sentials of life. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

DAVIES— BOHM— FRIESEKE— MILLER— 
MacCAMERON— MORA 

Tl^E realise that our painters whose inde- 
pendence in methods of painting — which 
may or may not please us — are yet too close 
for the public to gain a proper sense of propor- 
tion as to their work. That any art, be it lit- 
erature, music, sculpture, or painting, is kept 
up to the proper standard of excellence by a 
certain infusion of new ideals, is self-evident, 
but just how far those new ideals are to be 
permanent acquisitions is a question settled by 
time. Millet used to say: "Art is a language 
and all language is intended for the expres- 
sion of ideas." And again he said: "The 
artist's first task is to find an arrangement 
that will give full and striking expression to 
his ideas," and to these tenets he added the 
scathing criticism: "To have painted things 
that mean nothing is to have borne no fruit." 
When Arthur P. Davies (1862) painted "A 
Dream" (Fig. 169), Metropolitan Museum of 

220 




Fig. 170— Mother and Child. Bohm. Courtesy of the Macbeth Gal- 
lery, New York City. 



AMERICAN PICTURES 221 

Art, he gave a picture of his mental vision ex- 
quisite in composition and in spiritual signifi- 
cance. The motive is taken from Meredith's 
"Huntress of things worth pursuit of souls; 
in our naming, dreams." Surely the author 
himself could scarcely have imagined so subtle 
an interpretation of the thought he had in 
mind. The young woman, eagerly pressing 
forward, whither? "In a dream, in a vision 
of the night. . . . Then he openeth the ears of 
men and sealeth their instruction." She shows 
no hesitancy in following her instructions. 
As pure as the moonbeams she glides over 
the water up the height into the beyond and 
we watch as one detached, striving to join our 
souls to hers. 

Not always, however, do Mr. Davies' crea- 
tions find a response in our hearts. Dare we 
wonder if his own visions are as clear as of old, 
or are we at fault? Naturally a romantic 
painter is only remotely connected with things 
of real life, yet we all have dreams and visions 
of the night and are ever eager with our sym- 
pathy to welcome a dreamer who has the gift 
of visualising creations of the brain — whole- 
some fancies are invigourating and helpful. 

If the purpose of a picture is to give the un- 
derlying sentiment that justifies the picture's 
existence then Max Bohm (1868) has sue- 



222 AMERICAN PICTURES 

ceeded in the "Mother and Child" (Fig. 170). 
Strong? Of course it is. The mother instinct: 
and child-recognition are compellingly beauti- 
ful. The sentiment is that of elemental beings 
on the shores of the primeval sea. Strength 
of line, of colour, of composition, are splendid 
principles. Michael Angelo proved them long 
ago and he also demonstrated the necessity of 
pleasing details. Even in the awful "Last 
Judgment" the condemning Christ is softened 
by the gentle, pleading mother by his side. 

Mr. Bohm, born in Cleveland, Ohio, had 
most of his training in Paris, where he now 
lives. He was a member of the European 
Advisory Committee for the Panama Pacific 
Exposition, in 191 5. 

Stepping into a room of Frederick Carl 
Frieseke's pictures, one feels that a curtain has 
suddenly been drawn and a burst of sunlight 
let in. At first one involuntarily shades the 
eyes. And why not? Look at "Summer" 
(Fig. 171). Was ever light brighter? Even 
with her hat tipped over her face the woman 
squints her eyes from the glare. 

Picture after picture calls to mind sunlit 
verandas, old-fashioned gardens of hollyhocks 
and pinks flooded with light; morning rooms 
open to the sun and late afternoon with every- 
thing quivering in the long, lingering rays of 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 223 

a power spent. And colour? a perfect riot 
of colour so bewitched under the glare of light 
that one simply feels it without trying to de- 
fine the quality. 

In "The Hammock" (Pig. 172) the sun has 
bewitched us again. We do not agree that "It's 
because his work is 'classy/ " as one of the 
members of the awarding committee at Chi- 
cago stated, that he is attracting the public, 
but because he is giving a new interpretation 
of the effect of direct sunlight. We look out 
upon a sunlit garden or into a veranda with 
the afternoon sun flooding in and have a feel- 
ing of exuberance, possibly of excessive light 
that hurts our eyes. Now when an artist has 
the power of awakening sensations similar to 
those that nature produces through the skilful 
manipulation of his mediums he certainly has 
earned more than "classy" excellences to dis- 
tinguish his work. Surely Mr. Frieseke has 
achieved great success in harnessing the sun's 
direct light to canvas and in doing so has given 
us joy. The palpitating light playing over the 
mother and child in the hammock is full of vital 
force; it is recreating in its healing qualities. 

Then the picture quality is convincing in the 
joyous colour, illusive yet persistent; the note 
of bodily comfort in the limp form, the pushed 
aside empty tea cup and the swing hammock 



224 AMERICAN PICTURES 

all are things long to be remembered. Unfor- 
tunately drawing is not always a strong point 
with Mr. Frieseke, but the artistic charm 
of personality is there. The artist is present- 
ing daily scenes from a new standpoint with 
his angle of vision wholesome and pleasing if 
at times a little dazzling. We all welcome new 
visions even when they come from impossible 
probabilities ; it is when improbable possibilities 
are forced on us that we rebel. 

Mr. Frieseke was born in Owosso, Mich., 
in 1874, and until the European upheaval made 
his home in Paris. He was awarded the Grand 
Prize at the Panama Pacific Exposition 
(1915), the highest honour in the power of the 
international jurors to give. 

Richard E. Miller (1875), born in St. Louis, 
also lived in Paris. Possibly no two of our 
modern men treat light and colour so similarly 
as Mr. Miller and Mr. Frieseke. To define 
how they differ would mean to define the tem- 
peramental traits of each. They are telling the 
same story of the joy and gaiety of colour and 
light, yet each tells it his own distinctive way. 
When once that way is recognised then, like dis- 
tinctive traits of twins, they easily stand apart 
as individual in method. 

In "Morning Sunlight'' (Fig. 173) Mr. Mil- 
ler defines the sun parlour in a most convinc- 




Fig. 173 — Morning Sunlight. Miller. Courtesy of the Macoeth Gal- 
lery, New York City. 



ggH^ffiggesp ] 






AND THEIR PAINTERS 225 

ing manner. While we recognise that the peo- 
ple in these pictures are admirable objects for 
displaying colour and light, we assert that the 
picture would be uninteresting without these 
human personalities. This young woman in 
kimono and fluffy skirt is just the type to en- 
joy arranging flowers in the early morning 
hour with the sun flooding everything. 

In "Gold Fish" (Fig. 174) Mr. Miller in- 
terests us in the child as well as in the lovely 
light and colour of the picture. The human 
warmth is as caressing as is the delicious air 
coming through the open French windows. 

Now turn to the "New Orleans Negro," 
another child of the sun (Fig. 175), Memorial 
Art Gallery, Rochester, N. Y. To those 
who know the coloured people in the southland 
this portrait speaks volumes. Robert Mac- 
Cameron (1866) has delved deep into race 
characteristics and with unerring skill has pic- 
tured a composite negro, perfectly individual, 
yet answering to the name of John or James. 
He notes not only the flat nose, the thick open 
lips and white teeth, the half sleepy sensuous 
eyes and stocky neck, but the poise of the bullet 
head with its tendency to tip backward. Who 
has not seen this identical negro slouching 
along the street ready to guffaw at the slightest 
provocation? Good-natured to excess when 



226 AMERICAN PICTURES 

controlled and unprovoked, but sinister and 
unreasoning when once aroused is written on 
every feature. This is one of Mr. MacCam- 
eron's earlier pictures, yet in it he shows the 
keen insight into the underlying principles 
governing human beings that characterised 
his later works. The marvellous portrait of 
Auguste Rodin in the Metropolitan Museum 
of Art is sufficient proof of the artist's power 
to make individuals live on canvas. We feel 
the personality of the great French sculptor 
and realise that a master has made him live 
before us. We regret exceedingly that an 
artist who grasped the elemental truths as did 
Mr. MacCameron could not have lived the full 
number of years. He died in 1912. 

Mr. F. Lewis Mora (1874), a native of 
Montevideo, Uruguay, was a pupil of Mr. 
Benson and Mr. Tarbell in the Boston Art 
School. Mr. Mora is often decidedly inde- 
pendent in his choice of subjects, and some- 
times the subjects are even fantastic. A recent 
exhibition displayed his "Fantasy of Goya/' 
certainly an interesting departure from the 
usual. We could easily imagine Goya — to 
whom we render homage as a master — re- 
calling similar episodes from his early life. 
Mr. Mora has composed most cleverly the fleet- 
ing visions without detracting from our in- 



v^^fe. 



JKBm 



£% 



5 




Fig. 176 — Flowers of the Fields. Mora. Courtesy of the Macbeth 
Gallery, New York City. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 227 

terest of the artist himself. Surely Goya Has 
reaped the whirlwind physically, as he did in 
real life; or do we imagine we see it in the 
impelling figure of the old artist? 

Of an entirely different character is Mr. 
Mora's "Flowers of the Field" (Fig. 176). 
The smell of sweet grasses, clover blossoms 
and daisy fields still lingers in the flowers and 
around the young girls. This is a wholesome 
picture full of the quiet joy of young girlhood. 
It says to all alike: 

'Gather, then, each flower that grows, 
When the young heart overflows.'* 



CHAPTER XXV 

BELLOWS— LUKS— NOURSE— BEAL— 
McLEAN 

1*7 HEN George Bellows painted "Anne," 
** Art Institute, Chicago (Fig. 177), he 
left no doubt about a child's personality. 
That child will live as does Little Nell and 
Rose of Lyme Regis. She is distinctive 
among her friends or non-friends because 
she is. Mr. Bellows is representing life. 
He may not see it from our angle — at times his 
angle of vision is displeasing, which, however, 
is a matter of personal likes or prejudice if 
you please, yet he sees life in the living; and 
when his transcriptions are full of wholesome 
sentiment (not sentimentality, as in the "Saw- 
dust Trail" ) he is making pictures for all time. 
Take the "Cliff Dwellers," for instance, where 
the people who live among the skyscrapers are 
seen scurrying hither and thither, each intent 
on a particular pursuit or contentedly doing 
nothing, and the whole expressed in delicious 
colour notes and enveloped in an atmosphere 
of joy and hope. What could give greater sat- 

228 




Fig. 177 — Anne. Bellows. Courtesy of the Carnegie Institute, Chicago. 



AMERICAN PICTURES 229 

isfaction in the pictorial qualities of decora- 
tion and helpful sentiment? 

George Bellows was born in Columbus, 
Ohio, in 1882, and lives in New York City. He 
was a pupil of Robert Henri and is now de- 
veloping along lines under his own artistic 
guidance. 

A word of caution is not to be despised by 
the young artists who are making history in 
the art world to-day. Remember that "to 
make out of a fine art a fad is not inherently 
the gift of a heart artist." The arts — poetry, 
music, architecture, sculpture, and painting — 
are the great purifying influences ( of man- 
kind, and one born with genius for one of 
these is inspired of God for a great work. 

If ever an artist had all sorts and conditions 
of subjects at his very window ledge in all 
seasons, at all times of day and night, with 
people of all grades, it is George Luks at 
Jumel Place, Edgecomb Road, New York City. 
"Evening" (Fig. 178) is one of scores of the 
pictures posed for him just across the road 
from his studio. Mr. Luks is a true naturalist 
for, accepting the wind-sown forest as the only 
really artistic grouping of trees, he catches his 
children and mothers and grandmothers on 
the fly and avoids the artificial pose. What a 
glorious scene it is! The sun lingers to kiss 



2 3 o AMERICAN PICTURES 

every hair, every dimple and every wrinkle as 
if loathe to leave a group so full of the joy of 
life. Those little ones are the backbone of 
our great republic. Mr. Luks, in strong, simple 
lines and beautiful colour, certainly is solving 
the problem of better babies. 

No two children ever were any more be- 
witching than "Annie and Dora" (Fig. 179). 
They captivate us, yet I doubt our power to 
win them unless we are absolutely sincere in 
our advances. Little waifs, who are you? and 
where do you come from? Murillo's beggar 
boys were never happier in the sunny south- 
land than are you in the storm-threatening, 
changeable New York City winter. Your 
clothes are the cast-offs of some poor little rich 
girls and your umbrella probably was the sport 
of the wind, but what care you? You are 
nourished under excitement and variety, and a 
picture-man is only an added drop to your cup 
of happiness. Mr. Luks, we bid you "God 
speed" in catching such waifs — your pictures 
of those bright, joyous creatures of nature 
will live so long as there are human hearts 
to love them. 

Miss Elizabeth Nourse lives in Paris and, 
following much the same lines as Miss Cas- 
satt, paints mothers and nurses and children, 
making them tangible realities. We, too, feel 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 231 

the sobs of the hurt child in "Consolation" 
(Fig. 180) and can almost hear the crooning 
tone of the mother as she comforts the little 
one. Miss Nourse is specially sensitive to the 
mothering instinct, strong in the heart of most 
women, and in direct simple lines she makes 
her appeal to us. We would stop — of course 
we would — to learn the cause of the child's 
grief and our hearts would be the warmer after 
a word from the mother. Common occur- 
rences — the hurt child seeking mother-com- 
fort — we might almost say trying ones at 
times, yet how dull and colourless life would 
be without the hurts and the comfort that is 
sure to come from somewhere. Miss Nourse 
is holding our interest and in each new work 
we are conscious of a widening sympathy and 
a deeper knowledge — she sees life in the 
living. 

Another artist who is picturing people 
in the parks and along the river drives and 
at the "Picnic" (Fig. 181) is Gifford Beal. 
That the artist appreciates the effect of light 
and air on distant scenes is without question. 
His splendid arrangement, glorious colour and 
moving quality of the picnic group are those of 
a real crowd seen through the medium of light 
and air. Yet, dare we suggest, these play 
strange pranks as we approach nearer to see 



232 AMERICAN PICTURES 

some pictures of Mr. Beat's. We are keenly 
alive to the necessity of a breadth of treatment 
in picturing a restless crowd of living things 
enveloped in a quivering medium and we also 
know that our eyes do not see distant things 
in detail. Is it not possible, however, that 
liberty in the use of the medium is becoming 
license when a picture gives no impression at 
all unless a volume of light and air ten feet 
and more in thickness is between the beholder 
and the picture? 

Mr. BeaFs "Autumn in the City" (Fig. 182) 
is as comprehensive in treatment as in subject. 
He gives us the sense of the whole city in this 
limited view. We see in imagination the build- 
ings stretching away into the space beyond and 
feel that behind us are buildings innumerable. 
And what a glorious autumn it is ! The trees 
filling the parks and marking the tiny resting 
places radiate a glow and warmth onto build- 
ings and streets that gladden thousands of 
hearts. People hurrying across the parks or 
sitting on the benches have a new feeling of 
courage and joy, little dreaming as they hurry 
away or stop to rest that it has come to them 
from the laughing trees in their gay attire. 
How few of us realise the effect of a bright 
spot in monotonous surroundings ! Let a red 




Fig. 183 — Girl in Green. McLean. Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, 

Syracuse. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 233 

bird flit across the lawn where the friendly 
robin has been foraging for hours and we smile 
a welcome to the gay stranger. The artist has 
set the whole city aglow with the rich tones 
of those trees. Brown and yellow leaves were 
never more golden as they rustle to the ground. 
They may not reach the high key of red and 
orange in the leaves of single trees in the open, 
but they sing a glorious song of richness and 
warmth. 

Miss Jean McLean can make a picture of a 
portrait likeness. None who knew the "Girl 
in Green" (Fig. 183), Syracuse Museum of 
Fine Arts, could mistake her. The features 
ar£ specialised until eyes and nose and mouth 
and chin play the natural role of character 
revealers. This is accomplished with breadth 
of handling. The young woman compels no- 
tice; she not only fills the direct foreground 
but she fits the rugged background and cloud- 
swept sky. The splendid sweep of her ample 
gown and filmy scarf synchronise with the 
wind-swelled clouds in harmony with big 
movements. 

Miss McLean holds steadily to big ideals, not 
always with delicate perceptions, but ever de- 
manding truth. Her children are vigorous 
young things full of animal spirits and of fine 
physical development. 



CHAPTER XXVI 

SPENCER— HOPKINS— DESSAR— GARBER 
— SPEICHER— BROWN 

XX7 HEN Robert Spencer began painting the 
" water-fronts along the canal at New 
Hope, Pa., he opened our eyes to a new beauty 
in the commonplace. There is beauty in every- 
thing if only we are attune to the effect of light, 
atmosphere and colour that radiates and envel- 
ops and glorifies the world about us. Unfortu- 
nately we are so intently grubbing for material 
possessions that the marvellous pictures in the 
work-a-day world escape us. We need Mr. 
Spencer. He gives us a new vision of life. 

It was my good fortune to see "On the Canal, 
New Hope" (Fig. 184), in the exhibition of the 
National Academy in the spring of 1916. The 
charm of the picture is indescribable. I was 
drawn to it with a feeling that the artist had 
caught what I had missed in these homely 
scenes, and I was seeing life anew. The beauty 
of the commonplace ! What a message to give 
to the world! Those weather-worn houses, 

234 



AMERICAN PICTURES 235 

with plaster broken and hanging and paint al- 
most a thing of the past, look down into the 
tiny yards with a smile of content that sets our 
hearts a-singing. And was there ever a more 
fascinating design for embroidery work than 
that bare and leafless tree with its shadow sil- 
houette? But even the most practical minded 
could find satisfaction in this picture. The 
sun on the drying clothes, the fitness of the 
man at the bench and the joy of the woman 
over the stray bits of coal for her hod, — here is 
life in the living. Bare facts? Of course they 
are, but given with the master hand of one 
who knows when to amplify and where to 
eliminate. The Detroit Museum of Art is to 
be congratulated because it owns Mr. Spencer's 
"On the Canal, New Hope." 

Another waterfront of Mr. Spencer's, strong 
in line and big in composition and design, is 
"Repairing the Bridge" (Fig. 185), added to 
the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1914. 
Here also we have the delicious colour that 
time under the stress of wind and weather 
gives to stone and plaster and wood. Again 
it has taken the artist to waken our sense of 
beauty. The beauty in the scene itself has al- 
ways been there — we were blind to it. How 
daring it was to place that square, inflexible 
house in the very centre of a picture! But 



236 AMERICAN PICTURES 

look at the flanking — trees covered with lace- 
work leaves like a bride under her wedding- 
veil on one side, and a bit of country on the 
other. Was ever a homelier subject set in a 
more delightful frame — a smiling landscape, 
blue sky, wedding-veil, and strong, wholesome 
workmen setting to rights jangled forces in 
the commercial world ? The artist has centred 
the interest in that bridge. See how vitally 
concerned the crowd in the doorway of the old 
warehouse is about the completion of the job, 
yet it is doubtful if it would lift a finger to 
push the work. And the man leaning on the 
parapet has plenty of advice to offer ; advice is 
cheap and costs no effort. But above every- 
thing else is the joy we feel in the picture. Its 
power of holding us lies in the individuality of 
the artist. A photograph of the scene would 
have but a passing interest. Not so a paint- 
ing when it comes through the alchemy of an 
artist's soul with the mystery of creation still 
clinging to it. 

Mr. Spencer was born in Harvard, Ne- 
braska, in 1879. He was a pupil of William 
M. Chase and Robert Henri, two men who 
stand for very definite phases in painting, yet 
Mr. Spencer has developed an individual art 
that promises much for the future. 

That the picturesque among our American 







Fig. 184 — On the Canal, New Hope. Spenc< 
Detroit Museum of Art. 



Courtesy of the 




Fig. 185 — Repairing the Bridge. Spencer. Courtesy of the 
Metropolitan Museum of Art. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 237 

people is not confined to the foreign element 
of our cities or even to the Indian is being 
very forcefully proved by James R. Hopkins 
in his pictures of the Cumberland Mountain 
folk of Kentucky. Mr. Hopkins is opening 
our eyes to the wonderful possibilities of these 
sturdy mountaineers. His pictures are verit- 
able character sketches yet never for one mo- 
ment does he lose sight of their artistic value. 
It is joy to feel the intimate understanding 
that Mr. Hopkins gives in the portrayal of 
these people. We realise that his home was 
among them; their joys were his joys and their 
sorrows found sympathy in his heart. No one 
could look at the "Mountain Lovers" (Fig. 
186) without feeling a thrill of happiness in 
the love of these two young beings — true chil- 
dren of the soil. The purple haze creeping 
to the water's edge from the wooded slope 
above, and the laughing, dancing river are as 
much a part of the romance as the discreet 
mother whose courtship days are now the 
daughter's. How truly the story of woman- 
hood among nature's primitives is told in these 
two — the girl elusive, tempting; the mother 
cowed, obedient, self-effacing. One can 
scarcely believe the maudlin, love-lorn, hesi- 
tating boy is to become the dominating, over- 
bearing husband of the future. Over and over 



2$8 AMERICAN PICTURES 

again Mr. Hopkins represents the domineer- 
ing man and the subservient woman. He has 
caught the elemental spirit that dwells untamed 
where nature and man are one. 

Mr. Hopkins, born in Ohio in 1877, m ' st 
studied in Cincinnati then in Paris. His com- 
prehensive travel in Japan, China, Ceylon and 
Egypt has given him a wonderful grasp of 
spacing and arrangement. 

Louis Paul Dessar (1868) is a native of 
Indianapolis, and lives in New York City. In 
the "Wood Cart" (Fig. 187), Metropolitan 
Museum of Art, Mr. Dessar has taken an 
incident out of the unpoetic life of the toil- 
worn farmer comparable to that of Millet's 
French peasants. To ride on a load of poles 
drawn across a roadless stony field by a yoke 
of oxen is anything but a comfortable ride, yet 
the artist's picturesque handling has glorified 
the scene. Under his brush the rough stones 
and uneven ground glow with warmth; the 
light plays hide-and-seek over the patient oxen, 
moving with slow, even gait, regardless of any 
obstacles, and gleams on the striped poles. His 
brush has caught the hues that Jack Frost has 
left in his wake on trees and shrubs. Always 
individual, Mr. Dessar makes us feel the thrill 
he felt when selecting a particular spot to set 
up his easel. 





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Fig. 187 — The Wood Cart. Dessar. Courtesy of the Metropolitan 
Museum of Art. 







Fig. 188— Fields in Jersey. Garber. Courtesy of the Macbeth Gallery, 
New York City. 





Fig. 189 — Morning Light. Speicher. Courtesy of the Metropolitan 
Museum of Art. 




Fig. 190 — Poplars. Roy Brown. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 239 

Daniel Garber (1880) is a little disconcert- 
ing. His painting of "Tannis," which was 
awarded the second Altman prize of the Na- 
tional Academy of Design, is so much a child 
of nature that it seems as though no fields of 
his would be interesting without her. Yet 
"Fields in Jersey" (Fig. 188) is interesting. 
It may be that the warmth of her presence 
lingers under those vine-covered trees, and 
possibly she may be paddling her bare feet 
in the pond hidden behind the screen of 
leaves. Or she may be chasing butterflies 
in the open field beyond. At any rate 
there is a feeling of intimacy in the picture. 
Mr. Garber's landscapes leave a peculiar, 
haunting green clinging to the memory. One 
wonders if it is due to the close range of his 
pictures, if one may use that term to describe 
them. They seem to invite a look with the 
artist through the tangled network screen to 
see the picture spread out there. Sometimes 
the screen gives place to low bushes or a bor- 
dering walk, and these always warn the in- 
truder not to enter, only to look in. 

In the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a 
landscape by Eugene Speicher called "Morning 
Light" (Fig. 189). It is a representation of 
early spring when all nature is rejoicing in a 
new creation. The rejoicing is that of birds 



240 AMERICAN PICTURES 

twittering to their mates that a new home-mak- 
ing time has come; of the flowers awakening 
to greet a new world; of leaves bursting their 
bondage into a new freedom; of grasses bow- 
ing and swaying to the passing breezes ; of the 
dew responding to the caresses of the rising 
sun. The whole hillside is a song of praise 
sung in a harmony of tender greens. This 
morning light awakens our better selves and 
stirs our imagination to higher ideals because 
in it is the potential element of growth. One 
of the most marked features of success among 
our modern American artists is their ability to 
express motion — change — without their results 
being restless and unbalanced. They are recog- 
nising that life is full of movement, either in- 
ternal or external, and that it must be ex- 
pressed although not by sacrificing other essen- 
tials. No true artist finds this an easy task. 
Even Corot must have met with difficulties at 
first. He said, you remember, "Although when 
I was young it annoyed me that the clouds 
would not keep still, now I am glad that they 
will not, for therein lies their beauty." 

Mr. Speicher was born in Buffalo, New 
York, in 1883. He laid the foundation of his 
art in America and then spent some time in 
Europe. He is doing equally as good work in 
portraiture as in landscapes. In his modelling 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 241 

of flesh he is firm and convincing and gives his 
people character. In many of his portrait pic- 
tures simplicity is the element of charm. 

Roy Brown's trees have a personality that 
reminds one of Rousseau and his beloved trees. 
These "Poplars" (Fig. 190) surely have been 
confiding their secrets to Mr. Brown just as 
the French master wished his trees to confide 
in him. There is nothing specially attractive 
about the tall, gaunt, almost branchless trunks 
swaying to the breeze, yet they speak volumes 
to us. 



CHAPTER XXVII 

SNELL— LEVER— YATES— WAUGH— 
DOUGHERTY— KOOPMAN 

TTENRY B. SNELL is ever keeping abreast 
of the modern movement in art without 
for a moment losing his firm grasp of essen- 
tials. Few younger artists understand as he 
does the effect of light on quivering water and a 
wind-swept spit of land. Then, too, the stay- 
ing quality of vertical lines and solid masses in 
his pictures make one feel that sincerity is a 
fundamental principle with him. How quickly 
"Backwater" (Fig. 191) awakens our memory 
of just such scenes along water fronts. The 
intimate colour caressing in turn the water- 
soaked logs, water-worn hulks, water-washed 
houses, water-denuded rocky hillsides, gives to 
the whole a delicious note of familiarity. Then 
the dull green of the foliage is a healthful un- 
dertone broadening the life of the homes. The 
men on the pier are an added note of good cheer 
to the constant swish of the confined water. 
How the tall, stark masts give a sense of free- 

242 



r. 




AMERICAN PICTURES 243 

dom to the imprisoned crafts and how delight- 
fully their quivering shadows suggest possibili- 
ties lying in wait! 

Mr. Snell was born in Richmond, England, 
in 1858, but he is an American by adoption and 
had his training at the Art Students' League 
in New York City. He paints both landscapes 
and marines, and in the latter he usually keeps 
close to shore and the human side of life. He 
often represents boats near the shore deliver- 
ing their products gathered from the sea. In 
one scene, "The Beach/' Mr. Snell shows us 
boats pointed seaward. The background is a 
level beach and beyond a broken low-lying 
rocky coast against a cloudy sky. The light 
breaking through catches the glint of the tum- 
bled sand and water until the little fleet is radi- 
ant with the glory of it. Again boats are rid- 
ing at anchor in an "Outer Harbour/' where 
they are protected from the dashing waters on 
the threatening rocks all aflame with a glori- 
ous light. 

Another artist, a much younger man, who is 
showing us the glory of light on along shore 
scenes in Hayley Lever. In his "Boats at 
Gloucester" (Fig. 192) he gives in water colour 
an interesting picture of the water front of the 
old New England town. The fishing industry 
makes itself felt in the restless boats swaying 



244 AMERICAN PICTURES 

and tugging at their moorings. How the crin- 
kled shadows of the tall masts emphasise the 
sense of motion and how the bulging sails 
carry the impression of a stiff breeze sweeping 
seaward ! The tall church tower hints that the 
gabled houses peeping from their green setting 
has kept close to the welcoming centre of the 
home-coming of the sea-toilers. 

The animated colour of this harbour scene 
is full of the exuberance of youth and gives one 
the impression that Mr. Lever revels in colour 
because it thrills him and he loves it. His 
success with a water colour medium in this pic- 
ture is self-evident, yet the regret will come 
that it was not done in oil, where paint and can- 
vas are more permanent and lasting. We all 
admit that a good water colour picture is bet- 
ter than a poor oil painting, but paper, as we 
know it, very soon deteriorates. 

When Cullen Yates painted this "Rock 
Bound Coast," in the National Gallery, Wash- 
ington, D. C. (Fig. 193), he certainly put the 
very spirit of desolateness into it. Stern, un- 
compromising, immovable are the attributes 
written on every line of the projecting rock, 
and yet the restless, uneasy, persistent wash of 
the waters is doing its work. Centuries may 
come and centuries may go and these two op- 
posing forces will continue to harass each 



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AND THEIR PAINTERS 245 

other, always with the odds in favour of the 
dynamic power. 

Mr. Yates deals with the very fundamentals 
of life. And how he makes us feel the ele- 
mental forces in his strong, straightforward 
lines ! His frank, simple, brush strokes tell the 
story of the Rock Bound Coast with the 
naivete of a child. It is the work of one whose 
art speaks the truth and is understood by sage 
and rustic alike. Even to those who have never 
seen a rock bound coast this picture will bring 
a message of the ceaseless strife going on be- 
tween land and water. 

To give the very essence of the eternal strug- 
gle constantly at work is great art and Mr. 
Yates is doing that in his work. Whether he 
pictures rocks and sea, the river forcing its way 
through the land, or "A Crisp September," he 
gives the sense of nature changing and of the 
working of forces within. Then there is al^ 
ways a hopeful touch in the caressing atmos- 
phere hovering over his colour notes, be they 
sombre or gay. 

Mr. Yates was born in Bryan, Ohio, 1866. 
He was a pupil of William M. Chase, also of 
Leonard Ochtman. He studied in the ficole 
des Beaux Arts, Paris, but his art has always 
been peculiarly original and progressive. 

Mr. Frederick J. Waugh, born in Borden- 



246 AMERICAN PICTURES 

town, N. J., in 1861, was first trained in the 
Pennsylvania Academy of Arts, Philadelphia, 
then studied in the Julien Academy, Paris. 
Many of his marines are scenes from the open 
sea where the restless blue waters meet the 
greenish sky and pink-edged clouds float above. 
The sense of infinity in these pictures is almost 
overwhelming. In the painting of "Sea and 
Rocks" (Fig. 194) Mr. Waugh has pitted 
opposing forces with a fine appreciation of 
what ceaseless onslaughts will accomplish. 
The terrible impact of the rushing water seems 
powerless against the solid defense, yet the 
broken surfaces of the rocks, where the foam 
is quietly working its way back to the open 
sea, foretell the final victory of the offensive 
waters. 

In no marines does the water reflect the 
blueness of the sky as in Mr. Waugh's. We 
wonder at times if his blue glasses are not ex- 
aggerating. There is a delightful joyousness, 
however, in the frank blue surface of the 
water. 

That Mr. Waugh's perception of the unusual 
has led him into a strange wonderland is abun- 
dantly verified in his book, "The Clan of 
Munes" (Fig. 195), from which our illustra- 
tion is taken. These queer little figures are 
fashioned from weather worn spruce tree roots 




Fig. 196 — Manana Point. Dougherty. Courtesy of the Carnegie 
Public Library, Fort Worth, Texas. 




Fig. 197- 



-On the Rocks After a Storm. Koopman. Courtesy of the 
Delgado Museum of Art, New Orleans. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 247 

that the artist picked up on the island of Mon- 
hegan when there painting marines. It is in- 
teresting to know the beginnings of the fan- 
tastic little beings so graphically described both 
in word and picture by the artist. He says, 
"I began seeing little people with queer, tall 
caps and then made careful drawings of roots 
and placed these little people near them, and 
by and by I began to think it would be a good 
plan to form a story or a series of stories about 
these drawings." Certainly Alice never saw 
stranger antics in Wonderland than these of 
the grotesque little creatures performing 
under the spruce tree. The remarkable draw- 
ing and artistic arrangement of them make a 
pleasing picture; and the curious little beings 
have a fascination because of the constant 
revelation of hitherto undiscovered wonders. 
What an incentive to the inventive genius of 
children summering near the sea this Clan of 
Munes will be ! It ought to open their eyes to 
new possibilities in the drift wood where they 
can discover for themselves other members for 
the Clan of Munes. 

Since Winslow Homer (see page 64) found 
the ocean a source of artistic inspiration many 
of our artists have followed in his train. 
Paul Dougherty, one of the younger men, 
is painting the varied moods of Neptune with 



248 AMERICAN PICTURES 

keen appreciation of the old god. He not only 
understands the desolateness of the open sea 
under the fury of Neptune but his "Manana 
Point" (Fig. 196), Carnegie Public Library, 
Fort Worth, Texas, is just as drear, with its 
wild waste of waters. With what rush and 
swirl they lash the sturdy rocks at the point, and 
then defeated pour back to gather force for 
the next attack! The foam and roar of the 
water is like some wild beast lashed into im- 
potent rage. And see how wonderfully the 
light plays upon the seething mass, until the 
whole is a sea of glory. Mr. Dougherty un- 
dertook a daring deed when he thought to 
fashion that stupendous onrush in paint, but he 
was equal to the task. The vibrations of light 
quiver and palpitate under his brush-strokes 
until the whole mass of water is ready to burst 
its bonds while we watch it; and then the sul- 
len retreating mass glides back as though 
ashamed. The power in that tumult is tre- 
mendous — the spirit of the great deep is there. 

Mr. Dougherty was born in Brooklyn in 
1877 an< 3 fi rst studied art in New York City. 
He then studied in Paris and went to London, 
Florence, Venice, and Munich and now lives in 
New York City. 

A picture of nature in one of her changeable 
moods is "On the Rocks after the Storm" 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 249 

(Fig. 197), Delgado Museum of Art, New 
Orleans, by Augustus Koopman (1869-1914). 
The storm has spent itself and the sunlight is 
bursting through and illuminating the scud- 
ding clouds and fast-running water. What a 
glorious light it is, too, and how it spreads 
itself from surf to whitecap! Mr. Koopman 
has captured the very magic of sunlight, and 
has fixed it on canvas in a radiance scarcely 
believable. The glory of the scene is such 
that not even the victims of the storm can mar 
it. What matters the storm, now that the 
clouds are smiling again? 

Mr. Koopman was born in South Carolina, 
and after special training at the Pennsylvania 
Academy of Fine Arts, went to Paris. He re- 
ceived a number of medals from America and 
Europe, and his works are in many of our mu- 
seums. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 
LEIGH— COUSE— BURROUGHS— PARRISH 

\yiLLIAM R. LEIGH'S (1866) pictures 
of the Navajo Indian in his native home 
south of the San Juan River present a new 
point of view of the western deserts and their 
picturesque inhabitants. The breath of ro- 
mance that he gives to them recalls the joy 
and pain that came to us in following Hia- 
watha as 

"Forth he strode into the forest, 
To the kingdom of the West- Wind, 
To the land of the Hereafter." 

A note of pathos like a dirge vibrates 
through these Indian scenes. Sometimes it is 
a crashing blare of battle where the Redskin 
fights for freedom, and again it is a whisper to 
the boy in "The Land of his Fathers'' (Fig. 
198). This child of nature, a little Navajo 
goat-herder, is as fine a type of the Indian 
boy of old as was Hiawatha. Well formed, 
alert, quick of comprehension, he with his 

250 




Fig. 198 — The Land of His Fathers. Leigh. Courtesy of the Snedecor Gal- 
lery, New York City. 




, ... ..... 



Fig. 199 — A Vision of the Past. Couse. Courtesy of the Artist. 



AMERICAN PICTURES 251 

dogs starts at dawn to care for a flock of two 
hundred or more sheep and goats. What a 
bright, merry object he is in his ragged shirt, 
blue overalls and red buckskin moccasins! 
Mr. Leigh speaks with the greatest affection 
of this particular boy. He says: 

"My picture is nearly a portrait of the lit- 
tle chap nine years old. I hired him from his 
mother to pose for me. . . . His appreciation 
of a picture was as keen as that of any white 
boy and his reliability left nothing to be de- 
sired." 

It is impossible to appreciate in half-tone 
pictures the brilliancy of Mr. Leigh's paint- 
ings. His portrayal of the marvellous colour- 
ing under the sun's evening and morning rays, 
the clarity of the atmosphere intensifying the 
sheen of the sage bush and the glitter of the 
sand and opalescence of the overhanging sky 
is most convincing. 

Mr. Leigh was born on his father's planta- 
tion in Berkely County, West Virginia. His 
first training in art was at the Maryland In- 
stitute and at seventeen he went to Munich, 
Germany, to study. He did not return to 
America permanently until he was thirty years 
old, and then began illustrating for Scrib- 
ner's and other magazines. It was several 
years later before Mr. Leigh began his pictures 



252 AMERICAN PICTURES 

of the West and the Navajo Indian in his na- 
tive haunts. 

If we were travelling in the south-west sec- 
tion of the Rocky Mountains near the Taos 
Range we certainly would make an effort to 
see E. Irving Couse in his studio, remodelled 
from an old Mexican convent. This old con- 
vent is now Mr. Couse's permanent summer 
home and here he comes in close touch with 
the Pueblo Indians and their beautiful moun- 
tain setting. 

Indians are naturally superstitious. "Par- 
ticularly," says Mr. Couse, "about leaving be- 
hind them pictorial representations of them- 
selves, claiming that their souls after death 
will inhabit the picture instead of going to the 
Happy Hunting Ground." Naturally, until 
this superstition is overcome, it is difficult to 
obtain Indian models, but artists are gradually 
winning their way with the red man. This is 
particularly true with the Pueblos. Too far 
from the railroad to be spoiled by modern civil- 
isation, they are still in their native state of liv- 
ing and dress. 

It is not surprising that Mr. Couse Has 
gained the confidence of his dusky neighbours. 
When painting "A Vision of the Past" (Fig. 
199) he no doubt listened to many tales of the 
long ago — tales of when the mountains rang 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 253 

with the scream of the red man in battle. Lit- 
tle wonder that those shadowy mounted fig- 
ures leaping from crag to crag in deadly com- 
bat aroused the enthusiasm of his new found 
friends. How intimately illuminating the lit- 
tle personal touch in the artist's statement, 
"They are much interested in seeing the pic- 
tures grow and frequently offer suggestions 
which from their primitive point of view are 
often invaluable to the artist" ! Those stern, 
uncompromising figures in the foreground are 
the embodiment of offended dignity. In the 
child's wonder is an eagerness that suggests 
faint stirrings of the primitive war passion. 

Mr. Couse is not only true to the spirit of 
the red man, but in portraying this scene he 
has made a beautiful picture. That pyramid 
of delicious colour set against a background 
alive with the mystery of visions and enveloped 
in an atmosphere quivering with life fluids is 
a picture long to be remembered. It is not sur- 
prising that it was awarded the Altman five 
hundred dollar prize in the National Academy 
of Design in the winter of 1916. 

Mr. Couse's pictures of Indians are pecul- 
iarly personal and friendly in that they show an 
intimate understanding of their heart sorrows 
and joys. In the picture of "An Autumn Mel- 
ody" a young, half-clad Indian, crouching by 



254 AMERICAN PICTURES 

a mountain stream against stones and tree 
trunks, is piping a tune to the solitude. The 
wreath of autumn leaves on his black hair and 
the sun glistening on his bare skin make a pic- 
ture full of the poetry of life. And again in 
"The Redstone Pipe" one feels that the artist 
has pictured the comfort of a tried and trusted 
friend. 

Mr. Couse was born in Saginaw, Michigan, 
in 1866. He studied art in Chicago and New 
York City and then went to the &ole des 
Beaux Arts, Paris. His work has been recog- 
nised by numerous prizes and medals, and his 
pictures are found in a considerable number 
of our public galleries. 

It is not strange that "The Young Men and 
Horses" (Fig. 200), by Bryson Burroughs 
(1869), is reminiscent of the Parthenon Pro- 
cession of Mounted Youths, for there lingers 
about all of his pictures a vague something 
suggestive of the past. Not that Mr. Bur- 
roughs lacks up-to-dateness — far from it — 
but that his modernity is founded on funda- 
mental principles. While Pheidias brought to 
perfection physical activity in the Athenian 
youths of the Panathenaic ceremonies Mr. 
Burroughs has pictured with consummate skill 
the clean-cut American athlete in repose. In 
these young men, athletes in the broad sense of 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 255 

the word, every muscle is subservient to the 
trained mind. In each face shines the spiritual 
strength of one whose body is the temple of 
God. How like the portico of some old Greek 
temple the conventualised river-bank! and the 
luscious coloured statues — see! they suddenly 
begin to breathe as the rich blood pulses under 
the velvet skin. The limitless horizon, stretch- 
ing far beyond the river, the hills and the 
widening waters, is stupendous in its bigness 
of vision. Yet how simple in concept! Mr. 
Burroughs has the rare gift of expressing big 
themes in an understandable way. 

Was ever grief so beautiful as in "The Fu- 
neral of Adonis" (Fig. 201)? We feel that 
the sorrow of these lovely beings is our sorrow. 
Could anything be more exquisitely expressive 
of the helplessness of love against death than 
the unconscious Venus? The tender sympa- 
thy of the three friends with its element of 
helpfulness speaks volumes for the sympathy 
that strengthens strength — not coddles weak- 
ness. Mr. Burroughs has given to the old 
story of the dying year a new hopefulness. 
Death simply begins the new birth — already 
the flowers have sprung into life, blown open 
by the wind and, alas! blown away by it, yet 
it is life. 

Beautiful Adonis! not even Venus could 



256 AMERICAN PICTURES 

keep you from harm. The old myth is very 
human, for the spirit of keeping beautiful the 
memory of loved ones is in it. Venus, in her 
swan-drawn chariot — the story says — hears 
the groans of her beloved Adonis but, too late, 
she reaches the fated spot where his lifeless 
body lies torn and bleeding from the fangs of 
the wild boar he had attacked. Through her 
crushing grief came the thought, "Your blood 
shall be changed into a flower ; that consolation 
none can envy me." Tenderly she sprinkled 
nectar on the blood and in an hour's time the 
lovely Anemone with its red-striped petals ap- 
peared. "And," said Venus, "the spectacle of 
your death, my Adonis, and of my lamenta- 
tions shall annually be renewed." 

Again in this picture is the haunting essence 
of varieties belonging to ancient art ; and again 
broad simplicity and pleasing colour notes — 
rich and harmonious — lift us out of the arti- 
ficial into a realm of clean, wholesome living. 
Mr. Burroughs never fails to express himself 
with a broad sense of the proportion of things. 
His themes, be they motherhood, immaturity 
of youth, readjusting some old legend or purely 
realistic, have the element of sane common- 
sense running through them. Beautifully dec- 
orative with their simple lines, restful compo- 
sition and harmonious colour scheme they 




Fig. 200 — The Young Men and Horses. Burroughs. Courtesy of the Artist. 




HBwBB^WBsl»,,:' l ir. •- » . _ __ 



Fig. 201 — The Funeral of Adonis. Burroughs. Courtesy of the Artist. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 257 

calm and strengthen us. Mr. Burroughs, a 
native of Massachusetts, was trained in this 
country and abroad. His versatility is that of 
one who has trained his faculties to grasp the 
essentials of life and use them in his varied 
works. While most of his paintings are easel 
pictures his mural decorations in Mr. H. H. 
Flagler's home are but the beginning of more 
extended work in public buildings. As curator 
of painting in the Metropolitan Museum of 
Art, Mr. Burroughs is a power. 

When Maxfield Parrish ( 1870) painted "Old 
King Cole'' on the walls of the Knickerbocker 
Hotel, New York City, he delighted every- 
body. Painter and Philistine, children and 
grown people all sang and are still singing 
the praises of the "Merry Old Soul," as Mr. 
Parrish represents him. Replete with genuine 
humour these worthies wriggle one's risibles 
without offending the most exacting critic. 
And as to arrangement, colour, harmony — 
everything that makes for a picture — all are 
perfect. 

But Mr. Parrish does not aways draw on 
the classics — Mother Goose or otherwise — for 
his subjects. His own brain is a rich mine of 
romantic themes. Never has he worked out a 
more delightful series than in the girls' dining- 
room of the Curtis Publishing Company, 



258 AMERICAN PICTURES 

Philadelphia. The gladsome freshness of youth 
is in "The Carnival." The joy of the soul 
awakening to consciousness of mate com- 
panionship is the dominant note — a note as 
pure as that of the lark winging upward with 
its song. 

The series represents a terraced garden, as 
it were, against the loggia of an Italian pal- 
ace, arranged in panels placed between tall 
arched Colonial windows. Each scene is com- 
plete in itself yet the same undertone of joyous 
seeking is in all. The "Three Panels" (Fig. 
202) represent on the left, "Love's Pilgrim- 
age," centre, "The Garden of Opportunity," 
and right, "A Call to Joy." Not the least of 
the elements that add to the pleasure of the 
scenes is the glorious colour. The rich, luscious 
tones thrill the optic nerve like loving glances 
throbbing in the heart. Blues, oranges, reds, 
lavenders, marshalled by the skilled tactician, 
all play their part in cooling, warming, chal- 
lenging, subduing until "The Fete" is one 
grand manoeuvre of joyous emotions. Mr. 
Parrish has dipped deep into the treasures of 
his heart and brain for the carnival of love. 
Every scene speaks for heart-purity to the 
girls who day after day eat and chat under its 
influence. "Blessed are the pure in heart" 
was never more forcefully pictured since the 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 259 

word picture of One on the mount than by- 
Mr. Parrish. Surely the artist scarcely could 
have given greater honour to his native city 
than in this beautiful, chaste, artistic mural 
painting for a Philadelphia publishing house. 



CHAPTER XXIX 

WILES— DEARTH— TURNER— HENRI— 
WALTER— SEYFFERT— NORTON 

T\7HEN Irving R. Wiles painted the por- 
* * trait of his father, "Lemuel Maynard 
Wiles" (Fig. 203), now in the Metropoli- 
tan Museum of Art, he proved to the lov- 
ers of modern art that broad, swift strokes 
are as forceful in his hands as is the de- 
tailed work of the more finished portrait. No 
one could mistake the mental calibre of the 
elder painter — his father was an artist — after 
seeing that splendid head. The rugged han- 
dling emphasises the framework of the head 
without in the least detracting from the mark 
of intelligence that stamps every feature. One 
is conscious that the skull is typical of intel- 
lectuality in the white race, but with no loss of 
individual personality. Such a man could not 
be represented by the flash of his eye, for the 
whole contour of his head bears the impress 
of the mind within. The son's revelation of 
his father is the kind that comes from a living 
contact. Such a portrait lives. 

260 




Fig. 203- 



-Portrait of His Father. Wiles. Courtesy of the Metropolitan 
Museum of Art. 



!&U&*5ai5 



ypf** 






AMERICAN PICTURES 261 

Mr. Wiles was born in Utica, New York, in 
1861, and, in training for his profession, stud- 
ied under William M. Chase and then spent 
some time in Paris. We are indebted to Mr. 
Wiles for portraits of a number of our artists. 
His group of "Charles Bittinger and Daugh- 
ter Isabel" is exceedingly characteristic. As 
we look at the portrait of Mr. Bittinger and 
then turn to the exquisite "Madame du Barry" 
(see Fig. 213), which he painted from a bit of 
decoration in the old palace of Versailles, we 
understand better the comprehensive character 
of Mr. Wiles' portraiture. 

No two pictures could be more dissimilar in 
treatment than these two. Look again at the 
artist's father. The lines carved on the head 
are of constructive work and need no explana- 
tion. He simply marks the elemental forces of 
passing years with a few brush strokes, realis- 
ing that strong, simple lines are a force in them- 
selves. In the other portrait of Mr. Bittinger 
he has a far more varied problem. The vision 
of life is the present and future. The realisa- 
tion is only beginning, and Mr. Wiles, with a 
prophet's insight, gives us a glimpse of the pos- 
sible visions stirring in Mr. Bittinger's brain. 
The group is well composed and its pictorial 
quality is attractive. 

When Henry Golden Dearth (1864) paints 



262 AMERICAN PICTURES 

decorative pictures the adjective stands for 
more than a mere fetish, used as it often is to- 
day to cover up a multitude of sins in art. And 
again his deliberate return to past ages for 
tapestry effect has no hint of affectation or 
at least not of an eccentric desire to produce 
something unusual. 

"Cordelia" (Fig. 204), Metropolitan Mu- 
seum of Art, compels attention. She is most 
picturesque in her red jacket and white shirt- 
front. It is a little daring for a young woman 
with pale blue eyes to wear a red jacket — well, 
we like her staying qualities against the flat 
wall and leather-bound books. The picture 
is a bit of decoration that holds its own even 
in a museum — but then there is no screaming 
at each other among the pictures now, for the 
hanging committees are artists, and true artists 
make all things harmonious. Somehow this 
picture of Cordelia calls to mind the cells at 
San Marco, Florence — each with its single 
Fra Angelico. Cordelia would fill a room. 

Helen M. Turner is unique ; she was so even 
in her early training in art. She says, "Un- 
like so many beginners I had no desire to study 
in Europe, feeling on the contrary that it would 
be something like being plunged into a swiftly 
running current before one learns to swim." 

Miss Turner is a native of Louisville, Ken- 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 263 

tucky, but her childhood was lived in Louisi- 
ana during the awful readjustment in the 
South. Those troublous times doubtless helped 
develop that stability of purpose in the child 
which is working out in the artist's splendid 
products to-day. 

When Miss Turner states, "I paint almost 
entirely in oil," we feel like substituting the 
word "model" for "paint" as she works her pig- 
ments into those strong, vibrating human be- 
ings. She manipulates her paints with the ca- 
ressing touch of one who feels in sympathy 
with her medium. The inanimate paint is her 
friend and responds to her slightest wish. This 
seems to be one of the secrets of Miss Turner's 
power as an artist — this intimate understand- 
ing of the friendliness of inanimate things or, 
contrariwise, the cussedness of the same. 

When "A Lady with a Parasol" (Fig. 205) 
called to see Miss Turner, we are sure the 
caller's face and form made a picture in the 
artist's mind. The dull blue coat, offset by the 
flower-trimmed hat, pink parasol, and bright 
beads, formed a beautiful pattern for a picture* 
Miss Turner says, "I am principally concerned 
with the pattern, the great design, the swing 
of line, and the harmony of masses." And 
yet her pictures are more than all these, for in 
them is expressed the great human side of life. 



264 AMERICAN PICTURES 

So warm and close is the understanding be- 
tween the painter and her subjects that the pic- 
ture is a living personality. 

One of Miss Turner's most charming groups 
is "A Mother and Child," in which she ex- 
presses the very essence of the joy of mother- 
hood. Into the face of the mother as she 
nurses her little one has crept an ineffable pride 
of ownership; a sense of the complete knowl- 
edge of parentage that is hers alone, with a 
tenderness and apprehension that belong to 
the true mother. And the baby is a darling. 
See him tug away at his dinner, one eye buried 
in the soft, warm pillow and the other sending 
a roguish little side glance up to his mother. 
We can hear the mother saying tenderly, "Now 
take your dinner, you little rogue, and stop 
your play." And then she hugs him close in 
a warm embrace. 

"Pauline," privately owned in Philadelphia, 
represents a fine, half-grown girl. Fearless 
and unafraid she looks out on the world. The 
stirrings of womanhood are unheeded, though 
faint warnings of a new birth lurk behind the 
wide open eyes. "Pauline" is a picture every 
growing girl should know and love. Simple 
and straightforward in line and harmony of 
colour the picture stands for perfect develop- 
ment with every function working according 




Fig. 205 — A Lady with a Parasol. Turner. Courtesy of the Artist. 




Fig. 206 — Spanish Gipsy Girl. Henri. Courtesy of the Delgado Museum of 
Art, New Orleans. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 265 

to natural laws. Miss Turner is revealing 
forces that stand for true art, whether in life 
or painting. Strong, honest, true to herself, 
she is lifting us to her high ideal of progress. 

One of the very interesting loans in the 
Delgado Museum of Art, New Orleans, is 
the picture of a "Spanish Gipsy Girl" (Fig. 
206), by Robert Henri. Mr. Henri stands for 
modernity in the art world to-day. His aim 
is to gather up the essential elements as they 
impress him, and in broad swift strokes pre- 
sent the picture to us; sometimes, we must 
admit, he is so disdainful of details that we 
fail to catch the impression — due perhaps to 
our stupidity. It is not so in the gipsy girl. 
No one could possibly mistake this child of 
sunny Spain. Again Murillo's "Beggar Boys" 
are before us, but with an added element drawn 
from the new world. Mr. Henri's broad syn- 
thesis of Spanish characteristics in the happy- 
go-lucky children of the vagabond race — who 
originally may have come from Egypt — is that 
of one who sees racial traits as well as those 
of environment. The picturesque quality in 
this free child of nature is perfectly bewitch- 
ing. The wide-set eyes that twinkle with fun 
index her innate sense of the artistic — not that 
she knows anything about being artistic. How 
the dusky hair, drawn back from her low broad 



266 AMERICAN PICTURES 

forehead tones with her brilliant shawl and 
brown skin, and how the light loose frock in- 
tensifies the smiling face! The whole picture 
centres in that face, for in it the artist has 
typified not only the Spanish gipsy girl, but a 
particular gipsy girl. 

And again did ever a child look at you with 
more compelling eyes than "Catherine" (Fig. 
207) ? If you gain the confidence of that child 
you must be true to your best self. In Mr. 
Henri is the acme of modernity. He ignores 
detail to the extreme limit, yet he seldom fails 
to give a portrait that reveals the very soul 
of his subject. There are times, however, when 
his spirit of daring savours of bravado — more's 
the pity — and the brilliancy that was our admi- 
ration becomes like Apples of Sodom. 

Robert Henri was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, 
in 1865, an d is one of the leading teachers of 
art in America. His several years of inde- 
pendent study in Italy, Spain and France 
broadened his understanding of the funda- 
mentals as demonstrated by the masters of the 
past, without in the least undermining the true 
American spirit of his art. 

It was said of Ghirlandajo's quick perception 
of individualities that from his studio window 
he would make speaking likenesses of the 
passing crowd. Miss Martha Walter seems 




Fig. 207— Catherine. Henri. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 267 

to have inherited the old Italian artist's adept- 
ness. Her people, mostly women and children, 
are in the street cars, lolling on park benches 
or lying in the sun. Taking them unawares, 
she records bits of humour and pathos play- 
ing upon their faces like sunshine and shadow 
from the passing clouds. Miss Walter paints 
her people in the direct light but without the 
dazzle of light. Her colour is warm and steady 
and the feeling of form is strong and substan- 
tial. 

That Miss Walter's picture of the "English 
Nurse" (Fig. 208) makes us wish that she had 
recorded more about the woman and her 
charge gives the keynote of the artist's art. 
She certainly has the power of selecting pic- 
torial moments in the acts of the people around 
her — in fact any moment is a picture when she 
touches it. Is it not true though that in some 
of her pictures a little more attention to de- 
tails (a tabooed word in modern art) would 
give greater pleasure to those who love the 
people she paints? After all is said, pictures 
are for the people. 

It matters little whether Leopold Seyffert is 
painting a portrait of a social leader or mak- 
ing a picture of a "Dutch Woman" (Fig. 209). 
In each individual he gives the keynote of the 
person's existence. The spark that individual- 



268 AMERICAN PICTURES 

ises humanity in his eyes lies deeper than the 
flesh covered with the conventional clothes of 
a country. His Dutch woman, I grant you, has 
the Netherlands stamped all over her, yet she 
stands for herself alone. Put hei into Ameri- 
can clothes and she is still the woman who 
mothers the neighbourhood. Keen, kind and 
courageous she has made her way in life in 
spite of hardships and has lived her own life 
in her own way. 

Mr. Seyffert though still very young has a 
keen sense for the human element in the world. 
He has gone to the market place and among 
the peasants in Spain, and has given us many 
pictures representing types of the country, al- 
ways catching some vital point that makes each 
model a special human being. This gift of in- 
sight that has enabled Mr. Seyffert to catch 
the vital spark which distinguishes individuals 
has drawn to his studio numbers of well known 
society people. If only the young artist will 
hold himself steadily to quality in his work and 
not be obsessed with the poster-art tendency 
that marks some of his work, his future holds 
great possibilities. 

Mr. Seyffert, a native of West Philadel- 
phia, had his early training in the Penn- 
sylvania Academy of Fine Arts. His trav- 
els in Europe broadened his perceptive powers 



#r^ 




Fig. 209— Dutch Woman. Seyffert. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 269 

and gave him a fine grasp of fundamentals. 
We shall watch his development with great 
interest and prophesy that coming years will 
bring from his brush works belonging to the 
ages. 

To acquire a distinctive individual quality in 
work without falling into mannerisms is the 
mark of an artist with real artistic instincts. 
This is the quality Clara Mamre Norton has 
attained in her art. In her portraits we feel 
her warm intimate understanding of personal 
traits. She not only puts her sitters at ease, 
but they unconsciously assume a pose — no, 
a natural posture — that reveals their inner 
selves. These character glimpses of people 
are exceedingly interesting in studying Miss 
Norton's individual methods in her painting. 

In her "Study in Black and Gold" (Fig. 210) 
Miss Norton's colour note is full of vitality. 
The delicate flesh glows with the warmth of 
pulsing blood and the light caught in the sunny 
hair sheds a radiance over the whole picture. 
Miss Norton was born in New England and 
trained in Boston under Mr. Edmund C. Tar- 
bell. She was awarded the travelling scholar- 
ship from the Boston School of the Museum 
of Fine Arts which gave her two years of in- 
timate study of the old masters in Europe. She 
now has her studio in New York City. 



CHAPTER XXX 

PEARSON— TACK— BITTINGER— BORONDA 
—PETERSON— BERNSTEIN 

T^HE honour of being an instructor in the 
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 
Philadelphia, and the double honour of the 
Temple Gold Medal and the Stotesbury thou- 
sand dollar prize belong to Joseph T. Pearson, 
Jr., who is presenting nature to us from a new 
angle. "But it is Japanese !" I hear you exclaim. 
Yes, a little in its general character but perfect- 
ly Occidental in spirit. "By the River'' (Fig. 
21 1 ) would never be mistaken for an Oriental 
scene. Those ducks have never crossed the Pa- 
cific Ocean— they belong nearer home than 
that; and that scraggy tree trunk and those 
bent branches covered with flat grey lichens are 
too familiar objects to belong to Japan. And 
again in another of his paintings, "On the 
River," the picture that took the above medal 
and prize, we feel originality in the arrange- 
ment of the ducks guarded by the gnarled 
trunk and one broken branch. 

270 



AMERICAN PICTURES 271 

Now stop again "By the River" and see how 
the decorative quality of the picture pleases 
the eye. The canvas is bare of objects almost 
to desolation except for faint whispering of 
habitation across the river and in the tiny boat 
beneath. It in indescribable — the something 
that makes this a picture. Four ducks, a 
scraggy tree trunk, a bit of water worn rock 
and a hazy beyond are not very suggestive of 
picture value, yet to Mr. Pearson they were 
just the elements needed to build into a thing 
of beauty. It is only when decoration is sub- 
ordinated to the principles of art that it be- 
comes a joy forever. 

Then, too, the sentiment in Mr. Peterson's 
picture is wholesome and true. One of the 
most healthful signs of progress in most of our 
young artists is the glad, hopeful undertone 
that, like a gold thread, binds the pictures to 
our hearts. When their independence is that 
of men and women who think clearly because 
they are learning to exercise a just sense of 
proportion, then that independence results in 
good art. A just sense of proportion is a car- 
dinal virtue in any walk of life. It is the abil- 
ity to select and eliminate in working out prob- 
lems until the final results have, harmony of 
purpose that works for the progress of hu- 
manity. When, therefore, a picture lifts the 



272 AMERICAN PICTURES 

mind from the sordid into the realm of hope 
and joy the message has been one of strength. 

Mr. Pearson had the good fortune to study 
under William M. Chase and J. Alden Weir, 
two men who for years have stood for a prog- 
ress that steadily leavens the whole of life. 
Possibly the fact that Mr. Pearson was born 
in the Centennial Year, 1876, in Germantown, 
may account for the stirrings of genius in him. 
Is it a mere coincidence that so many of our 
young men and young women who are doing 
worth while things to-day are products of 
1876? 

When an artist treats old themes with a pe- 
culiar twist that is original yet devoid of con- 
scious striving for effect the public is inter- 
ested, even if it is mystified. That Augustus 
Vincent Tack's (1870) art is pregnant with 
great thoughts and noble aspirations none will 
question. His conception of such themes as 
"Eve/' "The Thief on the Cross," "Eternal 
Motherhood," and others are of the deep un- 
dertones of life. We feel dimly that his own 
inner self is communing with these fundamen- 
tals, yet his method sometimes fails in its con- 
vincing power — in other words his modus op- 
erandi does not seem commensurate with the 
bigness of his thought. That pure colour laid 
in mosaic does melt into a harmonious whole 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 273 

at a distance is not sufficient of itself to make 
that method an entire success. Mr. Tack for- 
tunately is an honest seeker, who we believe 
is developing something of real value to artists 
out of his use of pure pigments — often applied 
directly from tube to canvas. 

There is always a sense of the mysterious 
about Mr. Tack's pictures, a haunting vastness 
of height and distance. "The Sea of Hills" 
(Fig. 212) vibrates with the music of the 
spheres. The "mystery of beauty and the 
beauty of mystery" are in these everlasting 
hills as they rise and fall with the heart throbs 
of the eternal. There is a steadying quality in 
the quiet power of the undulating mass that 
speaks to our souls. Surely a thousand years 
were but as a watch in the night in evolving 
this sea ! 

Over and over again Mr. Tack deals with 
elemental forces in his art. And if, like Daniel 
Webster, he can simplify his expression of 
them so that the veriest rustic will say to him: 
"You are not very great, for I understand 
every word you say !" then will he be a master. 

It is a pleasure to find a young artist paint- 
ing pictures of historical significance with such 
pictorial value that they are interesting and 
attractive. Charles F. Bittinger made a dar- 



274 AMERICAN PICTURES 

ing choice when he pitched his tent at Versailles 
and set up his easel in the old palaces. 

Naturally the very name Versailles suggests 
a long array of people and events covering 
nearly four centuries in the life of the French 
nation. From the time when Louis XIII 
(1624) reclaimed the swamp and built the cen- 
tral part — cour de marbre — through its en- 
largement by Mansart to accommodate 10,000 
guests for Louis XIV, down to the present that 
particular spot, twelve miles south of Paris, 
has been in the public eye. It has stood for the 
French renaissance in literature, music and art 
of the seventeenth century as well as for its 
wars, intrigues and licentious living. 

True, Mr. Bittinger is not painting the Ver- 
sailles interiors from a historic standpoint, 
yet one cannot look at "Madame du Barry" 
(Fig. 213), for instance, without being re- 
minded of her baleful influence on Louis XV 
and that "her very presence was a stain upon 
Versailles. ,, For two years Mr. Bittinger 
painted in this vast storehouse replete with 
beautiful finishings of rare marbles, semi- 
precious stones and exquisite bits of hand 
work. Over all the pictures lingers enough of 
the spirit of the past to pique one's curiosity 
and add interest to the joy one feels in their 
beauty. 



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AND THEIR PAINTERS 275 

Mr. Bittinger, born in Washington, D. C, 
has distinguished himself also in his pictured 
interiors of many of our American homes of 
wealth. His appreciation of beauty has a se- 
lective quality that enables him to detach sec- 
tions of a whole and make of them complete 
pictures. 

When Lester Boronda painted "The Fan- 
dango" (Fig. 214) he gave a sense of motion 
that is almost uncanny in its aliveness. The 
young woman sways and glides as one under 
the spell of alluring music and an admiring 
crowd. There is nothing of pose, nothing to 
suggest arrested action, just a rhythmic aban- 
don where the whole being is attune to the 
spirit of motion. The hooped skirt has scarcely 
stopped swinging or the shaking tambourine its 
tinkling. The twinkling colours sparkle and 
glitter until we are made to feel the very es- 
sence of joy in the dance. 

Mr. Boronda, born in California, and a num- 
ber of other young American artists are com- 
ing to the front with strong individual work 
full of the harmony of good art. Modern? 
Of course they are! But their modernity is 
tempered with sufficient common sense to 
steady them and help them realise that new 
movements must be governed by a proper sense 
of proportion. Monstrosity in art is no more 



276 AMERICAN PICTURES 

true art than monstrosity in nature is true 
nature. 

A roomful of Jane Peterson's pictures fairly 
intoxicates one with colour and yet she seldom 
sets her pallette with more than three colours. 
Many of the hues separately would be startling 
in vividness, yet under her manipulation they 
are playing hide and seek with the shadows 
and gloom. Miss Peterson's whole nature is 
attune to the colourfulness of nature. She has 
been absorbing varying colour schemes for 
years in her travels north and south from 
Alaska to Africa, west and east from Califor- 
nia to Italy, staying long enough in each place 
for the changing seasons to express themselves. 
She makes one feel the rich, dusky, sun-kissed 
native of the tropics, and, again, the ice-king 
compels us to draw our fur closer before the 
row of shanties bordering the ocean front or 
hugging the foot of the snow mountains. 

It is when Miss Peterson takes the water- 
front of some old coast towns along the At- 
lantic and shows us life in the living among 
the sturdy folk of the sea that she warms our 
hearts. Could anything bring us closer to hu- 
man beings, whether summer-resorter or those 
of the homes near by, than the hurrying people 
of "A Busy Street" in Edgartown, Martha's 
Vineyard (Fig. 215)? It has been raining. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 277 

The wet street catches the glint of the bright 
costumes and laughs gaily in the very faces of 
the old houses. And what delicious faces they 
have, lemon-yellow, rose-pink and dull grey! 
And what a sense of stability they give to the 
otherwise restless scene! Straight lined and 
square bodied they stand like soldiers at atten- 
tion. And the converging wires across the cor- 
ner opposite, how they liven the solidity of 
facts with the gossip of trifles ! 

At one time Miss Peterson devoted much 
time painting gardens until her grasp of na- 
ture's prodigality under encouragement gave 
a perfect tangle of growth and luxuriance of 
colour notes. To keep pace with the artist's 
variety of subjects, one must follow in her 
wake as she travels. She is also equally at 
home in working in oil or water colours, though 
the former medium gives a feeling of stability 
against the ravages of time. 

Miss Peterson is a native of Elgin, Illinois, 
and received her initial training in her art in 
America and then began her travels abroad. 
It was her good fortune to have F. Hopkin- 
son Smith as a friend while she was in Venice, 
and, later in Spain, to work with Sorolla. In 
the latter she found a congenial artistic spirit 
and with him, though her own tendencies were 
already well established, she gained a feeling 



278 AMERICAN PICTURES 

of confidence in herself that has been invalu- 
able. We shall watch eagerly the development 
of Miss Peterson's art. She has struck a note 
that is simple and understandable to the public. 

Let us stop a moment and look into "The 
Opera Lobby (Fig. 216) as painted by 
Theresa Bernstein. The artist came one day, 
bought her ticket expecting to enjoy the opera, 
but the lobby held her — and no wonder. She 
has made us see it. I doubt if you or I would 
have seen it without her help. "Composition, 
design and colour/' Miss Bernstein says, are 
the three necessary attributes for her to see a 
picture in embryo. Now look again at the 
lobby. The door in the background with the 
artificial light behind it, the stairway leading 
to balconies, the open space, all form the com- 
position as a whole. The grouping of people, 
two men at the left, a man and a red-headed 
woman, a couple climbing the stairs, all are 
held together by a one tint floor covering like 
a pattern for a tapestry design. Then the 
weaving in and out of the colour problem! 
The men at the right, in black, on the red car- 
pet, the shimmery pink and white woman in 
the decollete gown, the sparkle of the electric 
light through the door-glass delight the mind 
like a delicious taste to the tongue. Beyond 




X 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 279 

all, however, is the human element, the vital 
touch that binds the group together and brings 
it in close touch with us. We recognise that 
the two men are talking stocks in Wall Street 
vernacular rather than about the opera, that 
the man at the left is ingratiating himself into 
the good graces of the red-headed woman, that 
the people on the stairs are finding them rather 
long and steep — in fact, a certain haunting 
familiarity pervades the scene. 

Miss Bernstein loves scenes where people 
gather by common consent. She loiters in the 
ticket-office, in the elevated train, and particu- 
larly among the crowd gathered at the beach. 
Of these beach scenes she has painted a score 
or more. She uses the restlessness of the crowd 
and the ceaseless motion of the ocean as under- 
tones giving life to the whole. One feels the 
constant shifting of position that is so charac- 
teristic of people on the beach. This moving- 
crowd might of itself be irritating were it not 
that the artist has tempered it all with the rest- 
ful sky line and gently swaying clouds. Miss 
Bernstein is a native of Philadelphia and 
studied painting in the American art schools; 
she then travelled in Europe. Though quite 
young, she already has a broad grasp of funda- 
mental principles in art. 



CHAPTER XXXI 

SLOAN— CONGDON— FRY— EYRE— ROU- 
LAND— DAVEY 

A LBRECHT DURER, though not the in- 
**■ ventor of engraving, was the first artist 
in whose hands the etching needle became the 
medium of true artistic expression. From his 
time (1471-1528) on it has been used more or 
less by individual artists of all countries and 
now quite an unusual number of our modern 
American painters are adopting its use, some 
of whom, like Whistler and Joseph Pennell, 
have already acquired international fame. In 
fact, one of the characteristics of our artists 
is to become versed in the various modes of ex- 
pression, ancient and modern, that belong to 
pictorial art. This spirit of investigation and 
enlarged field of action in a particular calling, 
and also in general, is a good outlook for 
broader ideas of citizenship. 

"Know one thing well, then as much as pos- 
sible of everything" is a good motto in the 
study of art if it is followed equally well in 

280 



AMERICAN PICTURES 281 

both propositions. It is always a joy to find 
an artist specialising without detriment to his 
art as a whole. It is fine to be a specialist but 
no one wants the other faculties atrophied 
while becoming efficient in a particular line. 
We feel the greatest pleasure in the work of 
John Sloan because he is a master in each 
branch he undertakes and still keeps himself 
close to the human side of life. Whether using 
the brush or the etching needle, he sees people ; 
he portrays them coming and going, bent on 
business and pleasure, with such accuracy that 
we recognise the impulse governing their ac- 
tions. Individually and collectively Mr. Sloan 
presents life to us. 

Look at the "Portrait Drawing of Paul de 
Kock" (Fig. 217), in the Metropolitan Mu- 
seum of Art. Was ever 1 , the characteristic 
traits of a writer more keenly noted than in 
this chalk drawing? Strong, free and simple 
it reveals the heart of the man and the intense 
desire of the artist to speak the truth sin- 
cerely. Unlike Hogarth Mr. Sloan's humour 
is always kindly, but then, bad as we are, the 
state of America to-day is not that of Eng- 
land in Hogarth's time. One of Mr. Sloan's 
specially telling etchings is "Fifth Avenue Crit- 
ics," belonging to his New York set of thir- 
teen etchings, in which is represented a ba- 



282 AMERICAN PICTURES 

rouche with two grand dames and a liveried 
coachman meeting a pretty, meek little lady, 
with a fluffy dog, in a hired hansom. The look 
of disdain on the wrinkled faces of the critics 
is ludicrous in the extreme, especially as seen 
against the perked up ears of the horse of the 
hansom which is in line with their faces. 

Mr. Sloan was born at Lockhaven, Penn'a, 
in 1 87 1, and was trained in the Pennsylvania 
Academy of Fine Arts. He makes his home 
in New York City. Much of his time to-day 
is devoted to painting landscapes and New 
York street scenes. 

Thomas R. Congdon is another American 
artist whose use of the etching needle is that 
of a master. It is only recently that we have 
him with us again, but his long stay in Paris is 
easily forgiven because of the fruitfulness of 
the sojourn and the honour bestowed on him 
while there. It is a delight, too, to look at dear, 
charming Paris through his American eyes — 
an artist does not lose his national traits when 
out of his own country — and feel the same 
thrill creep over us that we, as travellers, felt 
when standing by the Seine, or in front of 
Saint Etienne du Mont, or looking across the 
little pond to the Palais de Luxembourg. All 
these points of view so dear to us Mr. Congdon 
has made doubly dear with his etching needle. 




Fig. 219— A Dryad. Fry. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 283 

Now let us go to dear, old London and lazily 
sail along the Thames. Mr. Congdon shows 
us the same old "Factories on the Thames" 
(Fig. 218), only he has helped us to see more 
of the beauty of the English atmosphere that 
clings to and embraces them. Did we ever see 
that enchanting light and shade? And yet 
it was there waiting for a master to catch it 
and hand it down to posterity to enjoy. How 
the black smoke blotches the dull sky or mer- 
rily sails away in thin streaks; and how the 
old buildings snuggle against each other just 
as the anchor piles stand together for strength 
in the foreground. Who cares that the air 
is full of the smudge of soft coal ? The hum of 
the machines sings of the poetry of labour. 
We are glad to welcome Mr. Congdon home 
again, for no doubt he will now help us to 
look at our own land with more seeing eyes. 

It is very refreshing nowadays to find an 
up-to-date artist filled with the ideals of the 
past. "Something new" may be a good slo- 
gan to keep us from growing stale and shelf - 
worn, but we need to cling to the master ideals 
of the past — ideals that are founded on fun- 
damentals as solid as the eternal hills. In the 
works of John Hemming Fry we see that he 
has communed with the Greeks. His com- 
munion has been that of a seeker after truth. 



284 AMERICAN PICTURES 

He is no imitator or copyist but one whose 
soul is filled with the beauty of the human 
form with the touch of divinity still clinging 
to it. The dear old stories that belong to the 
childhood of the world, that we all love, have 
taken on a deeper significance under his brush. 

Was ever a "Dryad" (Fig. 219) more beau- 
tiful or more human than Mr. Fry's interpre- 
tation of her? Exquisite in form and pure in 
motive she is an intimate part of her beloved 
trees; with them as part of their life she came 
into existence and when they die she will die 
too. Mr. Fry, however, has given to her an 
element that was unknown to the Greeks — the 
new birth that springs from defeats and 
thwarted ideals into a stronger womanhood. 
Over and over again he uses mythological 
themes, but shot through them all is this firmer 
realisation of ideals that is our heritage. See 
the glorious light flooding the background and 
gradually embracing the trees and flowers and 
dryad in its vivifying influence. 

And again in "The Eternal Drift" (Fig. 
220) the warm, luscious flesh and firm elastic 
bodies of the nymphs are reminiscent of far- 
ofT Greece, but with a fuller understanding of 
woman's reclaiming power. Rarely did the 
Greek artists give greater satisfaction in phys- 
ical perfection and charm of femininity than is 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 285 

in these two lovely beings. Mr. Fry's inspira- 
tion is drawn from the fountain head, conse- 
quently his nude figures are as pure as the 
water springing from that source. Beauti- 
ful and chased yet mortal beings with possi- 
bilities of evil but with greater probabilities 
for good. It matters little to what age these 
lovely creatures of the eternal drift belong; 
they are always a definite part of the great 
problems of life and ever to be reckoned with. 
It is when an artist, whose heart is warm to- 
ward humanity, transmutes these frailties into 
a power for good that physical perfection in 
art reaches its goal. The Greeks ignored the 
evil in perfecting the body; Mr. Fry makes it 
beautiful in spite of its weaknesses. A certain 
wistfulness has crept into the faces of his mod- 
ern nymphs and dryads and mythical maidens 
that makes us feel they are our sisters and we 
love them. Mr. Fry's figures are such an in- 
timate part of the scene that the bit of land- 
scape, or shore inlet, or ocean expanse would 
be void without them. They are vital prod- 
ucts of the trees and the foam and the tumbling 
waves. His colour scheme is low and rich yet 
his effects are full of vitality and strength. 

When Elizabeth Eyre painted "The Upper 
Box" (Fig. 221 ) she gave a picture of the sur- 
feited opera habitues that words fail to express. 



286 AMERICAN PICTURES 

Boredom to extinction is written large on every 
line of the young man leaning on his hand. 
And one can almost hear the war of words be- 
tween the couple at the right ; and the tolerant 
smile of the older man is that of one satiated 
yet hoping for new sensations. Miss Eyre has 
certainly used her eyes in studying the box fre- 
quenters of opera and theatre. And how 
unique is her arrangement and simple her de- 
sign. Surely our architects would do well to 
study this upper box as a model in simplicity. 
Possibly a little of the depressing influences of 
too frequent attendance at play houses might 
be alleviated if the rococo decorations were 
done away with. At least the artistic effect 
of beautiful gowns would be greatly enhanced 
in simpler surroundings and incidentally add 
pleasure to being the most elegantly attired 
lady in the house. Miss Eyre sets her palette 
in a rather low key which intensifies the sil- 
houette of flesh tones. Her appreciation of 
moods as expressed in face and body is exceed- 
ingly keen and promises, in the coming years, 
that delineation of character will be a strong 
feature of her art. After all, it is the clear eye 
and steady brain of the artist who has given 
and is giving historical sketches of worth to 
the world. 

Orlando Rouland is a member of the Allied 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 287 

Artists of America. This association broke 
away, a little rebelliously, from the parent 
stock, the Academy of Design, several years 
ago. The basic cause of the rupture was jus- 
tifiable, for parents forget sometimes that their 
offspring can think. Fortunately the relation- 
ship between the two associations to-day is 
friendly and both hold their annual exhibitions 
in the Academy on 57th Street, New York City. 
Not all the work presented to the public by 
the young society is praiseworthy or even 
above mediocre, any more than that of the 
Academy, but the sifting process is more ener- 
getic when the sieve is in younger hands. 

As we study "Guided by the Stars" (Fig. 
222) we feel that the strength of young blood, 
steadied by responsibility, is before us. Mr. 
Rouland understands the power of silent con- 
templation. He is not afraid of making his 
people think. This young chief, for chief he 
certainly is in features and bearing, is using his 
mind as a perfectly balanced instrument under 
the control of the manipulator. There is no 
hesitancy or vacillation, for by no possible 
chance can he go astray with the eternal heav- 
ens as a map and the trained indicator as a 
guide. How well the self-contained, forceful 
traveller fits the solitude of that snowy height ! 
One's own convictions grow stronger under 



288 AMERICAN PICTURES 

the influence of this solitary seeker after wis- 
dom. Studying the heavens brought this people 
near the Great Spirit just as it compelled the 
psalmist of old to exclaim, 

"The heavens declare the glory of God; 
And the firmament sheweth his handiwork. 
Day unto' day uttereth speech, 
And night unto night sheweth knowledge." 

Mr. Rouland's message to the world is big 
and wholesome ; it reaches deep into our heart 
of hearts because he touches the mainspring 
of life — the Eternal God — and we too exclaim 
with the shining host of twinkling stars, 

"The hand that made us is Divine." 

It is interesting the many and varied ways 
of approach the artists are using to-day in pre- 
senting life to us. They are not painting a 
dead world but one palpitating with vitality. 
Still life is a paradox, for life is motion and 
not even material things are still. Then, too, 
still life subjects are vibrant with atmospheric 
quiverings. 

And again our artists are becoming thinkers. 
Of course at first certain mannerisms of the 
teacher cling to them but these disappear as 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 289 

the individuality grows. I am not speaking 
of the would-be artists who are falling by the 
way — and some in this book may be among that 
number — but of those who have come to stay. 
A true artist is a thinker ; he works out his own 
problems and when his solution is accepted by 
the thinking public, educated or uneducated, 
he has arrived. 

Randall Davey is doing some of this think- 
ing. His character sketches are like biograph- 
ical notes in their portrayal of individual traits, 
yet they evince the intimate knowledge of ra- 
cial peculiarities of one versed in the study of 
physiognomy. No one could mistake the "Old 
Sea Captain" (Fig. 223), in the Corcoran Gal- 
lery, Washington, D. C. He and his fore- 
bears have for centuries fought the sea and 
with dogged determination have kept it at bay. 
Every inch of him is as solid as the hills and 
with a heart as warm and tender as a child's. 
He no doubt was a special friend of Mr. 
Davey's, yet he represents the whole race of 
Gloucester Sea Captains. There is a certain 
vigour of purpose in his makeup that speaks 
in no uncertain tone of the sturdy little town 
that has held its own against odds that would 
have conquered bigger places. 

Mr. Davey is developing an individual art 
while using subjects that are common to a num- 



2 9 o AMERICAN PICTURES 

ber of painters to-day. His two years' sojourn 
in the Netherlands and later in Spain have not 
only opened his mind to perceive the underlying 
reasons of racial differences, but they started 
an individual growth in Mr. Davey of good 
judgment and clear thinking that is becoming 
more pronounced each season. Is anything of 
greater value than healthful growth in the de- 
velopment of a nation? And as nations are 
made up of individuals nothing can be more en- 
couraging than to say to a fellow worker, 
"You have grown!" Mr. Davey is young in 
years and is full of the enthusiasm of youth. 
One feels the impetuous blood of an undaunted 
conqueror in his rich colour, his daring compo- 
sitions, and his rather unusual technique. At 
times his conquering is a little ruthless, yet the 
spirit of honest courage and an undertone of 
good sense and sincerity generally prevails. 

We are very proud of the large company of 
young American thinkers who are working out 
their own salvation in their art. The majority 
of them have scarcely reached two score years 
of life, yet they already stand for progress. 
While a list of names means little in general 
when it comprises men and women whom the 
public is watching expectantly, it holds big 
possibilities. To such a list belong Harry 




Fig. 223 — An Old Sea Captain. Davcy. Courtesy of the Corcoran Art Gallery, 
Washington, D. C. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 291 

Townsend, Howard Giles, Leon Gaspard, Jules 
Turcas, B. Gutmann, Guy Wiggins, Arthur 
Crisp, Ossip L. Linde, Althea H. Piatt, Clif- 
ford W. Ashley, A. Hanson, W. G. Beuley, 
George Elmer Brown, C. C. Campbell, A. Ba- 
rone, and many others of equal merit. 



CHAPTER XXXII 

ULTRA-MODERN ART 

MARIN— BENTON— ZORACH— RAY— WRIGHT 
—RUSSELL 

TNREST is not a modern state of being; 
and it is not confined to a special country 
or people. Unrest is both destructive and con- 
structive. If, like the prodigal son, it wastes 
itself in riotous living it retards progress and 
comes to naught. If, on the other hand, like 
the pioneer it conserves as it breaks into new 
fields, it comes to fruition. 

Progress, therefore, depends upon the char- 
acter of the spirit of unrest. That a certain 
amount of destructive unrest is necessary for 
healthful advance is true, but it is equally true 
that the inconoclastic spirit often works dis- 
aster for lack of steadying qualities. 

Unrest in the art world began with the be- 
ginnings of the race. In fact its very being- 
sprang from the desire to tell others the where- 
abouts of the restless seekers for new fields of 

292 



AMERICAN PICTURES 293 

action. Down through Assyria, Babylonia, 
Persia, Egypt, and Greece came this spirit of 
unrest, at times reaching, through construc- 
tion, states of perfection that stand out as 
mountain peaks, and again leaving direst 
wastes in its path. 

It is not surprising that with such an in- 
heritance America should feel unrest stirring 
in its very vitals. "Up-and-doing" is the 
watchword in every branch of life in this vast 
country. Not always does the doing come to 
fruition, yet the whole body politic is the bet- 
ter for action. Possibly the beginnings of the 
present unrest in art came from the Paris of 
the last century when scores of our artists, 
eagerly receptive, were absorbing the insurgent 
spirit of new France. That this insurgent 
spirit in the final reckoning spells progress no 
one will question, yet it is true that the work- 
ings of the spirit are generally misunderstood. 
This misunderstanding is often due to ignorant 
misinformation and lack of explanation by the 
workers themselves. It is not fair to the public 
to keep it in ignorance, for the average mind 
is capable of judging. 

In approaching the new movement of the 
ultra-modern artists one must ever bear in 
mind that these men are dealing with funda- 
mental principles. Unvarnished, unadorned 



294 AMERICAN PICTURES 

elemental truths, as they see them, are ex- 
pressed in all their works. The six represen- 
tative men chosen stand for different phases 
in the development of Modern American Art ; 
and in these painters' own words and works I 
present them to my readers. Also I advocate 
public inspection of the works of these modern 
painters. "The establishment of galleries is 
desirable/' says Mr. Robert Henri, "where 
small groups of artists, self-selected and self- 
organised, might have space on demand to 
present their works for public inspection, 
where the people would be invited to come, see, 
and in the act of personal judgment develop 
the taste that is latent in them, rather than 
accept the dictates of those who have assumed 
authority as juries of admission, juries of 
award, and critics.'' 

In the Forum Exhibition of Modern Ameri- 
can Painters, the spring of 1916, the exhibitors 
not only exhibited their paintings but gave the 
reasons for the faith that is in them. 

To appreciate "Marin's Island (Maine)," by 
John Marin (Fig. 224), we must read what the 
painter himself says of his works: 

"These works are meant as constructed ex- 
pressions of the inner senses, responding to the 
things seen and felt. One responds differently 
toward different things ; one even responds dif- 










if 

41 




s 






«p$V 



V*\ 







ffl 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 295 

ferently toward the same thing. In reality it 
is the same thing no longer ; you are in a differ- 
ent mood, and it is in a different mood." 

"If you follow a certain path you come to 
something. The path moves toward direction, 
and if you follow direction you come to some- 
thing; and the path is through something, un- 
der something and over something. And these 
somethings you either respond to or you don't. 
There are great movements and small move- 
ments, great things and small things — all bear- 
ing intimacy in their separations and joinings. 
In all things there exists the central power, the 
big force, the big movement ; and to this central 
power all the small factors have relation." 

"Thus it is in life. Life is like a path which 
one follows. All things one meets are relative 
and interdependent. They may be good or bad, 
but they are never perfect. It is the same with 
the artist's expression : it, too, may be good or 
bad, but it is never perfect." 

"However, the paths and the factors of life 
may broaden. They may become more and 
more revealing. Some may travel and find, 
others may travel and never find the things 
relative to them. Thus the journey may be 
sensed or not sensed, expressed or not ex- 
pressed." 

"So, in all human consciousness there are the 



296 AMERICAN PICTURES 

seekers and those who do not seek, the finders 
and those who do not find." 

"Coming down to my work, you have these 
pictures. They are the products of a seeker 
or finder, or of a man who neither seeks nor 
finds." 

We turn to "Figure Organisation" (Fig. 
22 5)> by Thomas H. Benton, and read: 

"My experience has proved the impractica- 
bility of depending upon intellectualist formu- 
las for guidance, and I find it therefore impos- 
sible to ally myself definitely with any particu- 
lar school of aesthetics, either in its interpre- 
tative or constructive aspect." 

"I may speak generally of my aim being to- 
ward achievement of a combat, massive and 
rhythmical composition of forms in which the 
tactile sensations of alternate bulgings and re- 
cessions shall be exactly related to the force of 
the line limiting the space in which these ac- 
tivities take place. As the idea of form cannot 
be grasped without mental action on the part 
of the beholder; as its comprehension, that is, 
implies the necessity of a more intense mental 
state that is requisite for the enjoyment of sim- 
ple loveliness of colour, I value its develop- 
ment, manipulation, etc., as by far the most 
important element entering into the construc- 
tion of a work of art." 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 297 

"The generation of the idea of form depends 
upon comparison of contour al or linear exten- 
sion, their force, direction and the like; this 
generation is caused by attention to boundaries 
of shapes; the pre-eminent stimulus to realis- 
ing a cubic existence is line — therefore I make 
the production of interesting line relations the 
first business in my painting. Colour I use 
simply to reinforce the solidity and special po- 
sition of forms predetermined by line." 

"I believe the importance of drawing, of line, 
cannot be overestimated, because of its above- 
mentioned control of the idea of form, and I 
believe that no loveliness of colour can com- 
pensate for deficiency in this respect. While 
considering colour of secondary constructive 
importance, I realise, nevertheless, its value in 
heightening the intensity of volume, and am, to 
a certain extent, in accordance with all those 
developments which, emanating from Cezanne, 
tend to accentuate its functioning power." 

"I believe that particular attention to consist- 
ency in method is bad, and for this reason em- 
ploy any means that may accentuate or lessen 
the emotive power of the integral parts of my 
work." 

"In conclusion I wish to say that I make no 
distinctions as to the value of subject-matter. 
I believe that the representation of objective 



298 AMERICAN PICTURES 

forms and the presentation of abstract ideas of 
form to be of equal artistic value." 

William Zorach's word picture of "Spring" 
as it appeals to him in nature is represented in 
his painting "Spring" (Fig. 226). He says: 

"It is the inner spirit of things that I seek 
to express, the essential relation of forms and 
colours to universal things. Each form and 
colour has a spiritual significance to me, and I 
try to combine those forms and colours within 
my space to express that inner feeling which 
something in nature or life has given me." 

"The moment I place one line or colour upon 
canvas, that moment I feel the need of other 
lines and colours to express inner rhythm. I 
am organising a new world in which each form 
and colour exists and lives only in so far as it 
has a meaning in relation to every other form 
and colour in that space." 

"In the spring one feels the freshness of 
young growing things, the ascending stream 
of life, the expanding of leaves and trees, the 
spirit and passions in the lives and volumes of 
rolling hills. All these are wonderful forms 
that act and react upon each other like sounds 
from a violin. I see the young child and its 
mother, I see the flowers, the birds, the young 
calf born in the field, I see the young calf pranc- 
ing and feel the wild blood rushing through 




Fig. 227 — Dance Interpretation. - Ray. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 299 

my veins. Then again, it is the strangeness of 
mountains, their bigness and solemness and 
depth, their height, and the strange light upon 
them. I go into a farm house; the people sit 
silently around a room, a girl picks foolish 
tunes from a zither, the feeble-minded grand- 
father wanders from window to window ask- 
ing for the sun. And in all these things there 
is a bigger meaning, a certain great relation 
to the mountains and to the primary signifi- 
cance of life. One feels the relation of the 
forms of birds, flowers, animals, trees, of 
everything that grows and breathes to each 
other and to the earth and sky." 

"This I get from the world about me, and 
this I seek to give back again through my pic- 
tures/' 

We look at "Dance Interpretation — Inven- 
tion" (Fig. 227), by Man Ray, and then read 
the explanation of its meaning. Mr. Ray 
says : 

"Throughout time painting has alternately 
been put to the service of the church, the state, 
arms, individual patronage, nature apprecia- 
tion, scientific phenomena, anecdote and deco- 
ration." 

"But all the marvellous works that have been 
painted, whatever the source of inspiration, 



300 AMERICAN PICTURES 

still live for us because of absolute qualities 
they possess in common." 

"The creative force and the expressiveness 
of painting reside materially in the colour and 
the texture of pigment, in the possibilities of 
form invention and organisation, and in the flat 
plane on which these elements are brought to 
play." 

"The artist is concerned solely with linking 
these absolute qualities directly to his wit, im- 
agination and experience, without the go-be- 
tween of a ( subject.' Working on a single plane 
as the instantaneously visualising factor, he 
realises his mind motives and physical sensa- 
tions in a permanent and universal language 
of colour, texture and form organisation. He 
uncovers the pure plane of expression that has 
so long been hidden by the glazings of nature 
imitation, anecdote and the other popular sub- 
jects." 

"Accordingly the artist's work is to be meas- 
ured by the vitality, the invention and the defi- 
niteness and conviction of purpose within its 
own medium." 

In "Adolescence" (Pig. 228), by S. Macdon- 
ald-Wright, is illustrated the underlying prin- 
ciple in Mr. Wright's paintings. He says : 

"I strive to divest my art of all anecdote and 
illustration, and to purify it to the point where 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 301 

the emotions of the spectator will be wholly 
aesthetic, as when listening to good music." 

"Since plastic form is the basis of enduring 
art, and since the creation of intense form is 
impossible without colour, I first determined, 
by years of colour experimentation, the rela- 
tive spatial relation of the entire colour gamut. 
By placing pure colours on recognisable forms 
(that is, by placing advancing colour on ob- 
jects, and retreating colours on retreating ob- 
jects), I found that such colours destroyed the 
sense of reality, and were in turn destroyed 
by the illusive contour. Thus, I came to the 
conclusion that colour, in order to function 
significantly, must be used as an abstract 
medium. Otherwise the picture appeared to 
me merely as a slight, lyrical decoration." 

"Having always been more profoundly 
moved by pure rhythmic form (as in music) 
than by associative processes (such as poetry 
calls up), I cast aside as nugatory all natural 
representation in my art. However, I still ad- 
hered to the fundamental laws of composition 
(placements and displacements of mass as in 
the human body in movement), and created 
my pictures by means of colour- form which, 
by its organisation in three dimensions, re- 
sulted in rhythm/' 

"Later, recognising that painting may extend 



302 AMERICAN PICTURES 

itself onto time, as well as being a simultane- 
ous presentation, I saw the necessity for a for- 
mal climax which, through being ever in mind 
as the final point of consummation, would serve 
as a point from which the eye would make ex- 
cursions into the ordered complexities of the 
picture's rhythm. Simultaneously my inspira- 
tion to create came from a visualisation of ab- 
stract forces interpreted, through colour juxta- 
positions, into terms of the visual. In them 
was always a goal of finality which perfectly 
accorded with my felt need in picture construc- 
tion. ,, 

"By the above one can see that I strive to 
make my art bear the same relation to painting 
that polyphony bears to music. Illustrative 
music is a thing of the past : it has become ab- 
stract and purely aesthetic, dependent for its 
effect upon rhythm and form. Painting cer- 
tainly need not lag behind music/' 

Morgan Russell, in "Cosmic Synchrony 
(Fig. 229), has given clearly the keynote 
of his art. Mr. Russell says: 

"My first synchromies represented a per- 
sonal manner of visualising by colour rhythms ; 
hence my treatment of light by multiple rain- 
bow-like colour-waves which, expanding into 
larger undulations, form the general composi- 
tion. 5 ' 




Fig. 228 — Adolescence. Wright. 




Fig. 229 — Cosmic Synchromy. Russell. 



AND THEIR PAINTERS 303 

"In my next step I was concerned with the 
elimination of the natural object and with the 
retention of colour rhythms. An example of 
this period is the Cosmic Synchromy. The 
principal idea in this canvas is a spiral plunge 
into space, excited and quickened by appropri- 
ate colour contrasts." 

"In my latest development I have sought a 
'form' which, though necessarily archaic, 
would be fundamental and permit a steady evo- 
lution, in order to build something at once 
Dionysian and architectural in shape and 
colour." 

"Furthermore I have been striving for a 
greater intensity of pictorial aspect. In the 
Middle Ages cathedral organs were louder 
than the sounds then heard in life; and men 
were made to feel the order in nature through 
the dominating ordered notes of the organ. 
But to-day the chaotic sounds and lights in 
our daily experience are intenser than those 
in art. Therefore art must be raised to the 
higher intensity if it is to dominate life and 
give us a sense of order." 

"Much has been said concerning the role of 
intellect in painting. Common sense teaches 
that the mind's analytic and synthetic powers, 
like vigorous draughts of fresh air, kill the 
feeble and invigourate the strong. The strong 



304 AMERICAN PICTURES 

assimilate the suggestions of reason to their 
creative reactions : the feeble superimpose rea- 
son on their pictures, thus petrifying their 
work and robbing it of any organic unity. 
This unity is a necessity to all great art and 
results only from a creative vision handling 
the whole surface with supple control."' 

"I infuse my own vitality into my work by 
means of my sense of relations and adjust- 
ments. The difference between a picture pro- 
duced by precise formulas and one which is 
the result of senesibilite, is the difference be- 
tween a mechanical invention and a living or- 
ganism/' 

"While there will probably always be illus- 
trative pictures, it cannot be denied that this 
century may see the flowering of a new art of 
forms and colours alone. Personally, I be- 
lieve the non-illustrative painting is the purest 
manner of aesthetic expression, and that, pro- 
vided the basic demands of great composition 
are adhered to, the emotional effect will be 
even more intense than if there was present 
the obstacle of representation. Colour is form ; 
and in my attainment of abstract form I use 
those colours which optically correspond to the 
spatial extension of the forms desired/' 



INDEX 



Abbey, Edwin Austin, so, 151, 155 
Alexander, John W., 91. 149, 164- 

169, 178 
Angelo, Michael, 25, 105, 159, 222 
Beal, Gifford, 228, 231-233 
Beaux, Cecilia, 203-206 
Beckwith, Carroll, 113, 114 
Bellows, George, 228-229 
Benson, Frank W., 171. i8r, 182- 

184, 226 
Benton, Thomas H., 292, 296-298 
Bernstein, Theresa, 270, 278-279 
Bierstadt, Albert, 37, 46 
Bittinger, Charles F., 270, 274-275 
Blakelock, Ralph Albert, 121-123 
Blashfield, Edwin H., 150-151 
Blum, Robert Frederick, 164, 169- 

170 
Bohm, Max, 220, 221-222 
Boldini, Giovanni, 87-88 
Boronda, Lester, 270, 275-276 
Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, 30, 

64, 75, 76, 84, 92, 158, 164 
Brooklyn, Institute of Arts and 

Sciences, 66, 80, 86, 89, 90, 117 
Brown, Roy, 234, 240 
Brush, George Deforest, 105, 

106-107 
Buffalo, Albright Art Gallery, 

147, 174, 179, 192 
Bunce, William Gedney, 56, 62-63 
Burroughs, Bryson, 250, 254-257 
Carlsen, Emil, 32, 134-135 
Carlson, Charles F., 188, 199-200 
Cassatt, Mary, 203, 209-212, 230 
Chase, William Merritt, i 13-120, 

158, 172, 198, 208-209, 236, 245, 

261, 272 
Chicago, Art Institute, 32, 52, 54, 

57, 95, 112, 114, 143, 202, 228 
Church, Frederick E., 39, 40-41 
Cincinnati Museum, 102, 103, 168, 

170, 196, 200 



Cole, Thomas, 38-41 
Coleman, Charles Caryl, 71, 77-78 
Congdon, Thomas R., 280, 282-284 
Copley, John Singleton, 21, 26-28 
Couse, E. Irving, 250, 251-254 
Cox, Kenyon, hi, 1 1 7-1 1 8 
Crane, Bruce, 132, 137-138 
Daingerfield, Elliott, 122, 132, 

136-137 
Davey, Randall, 280, 289-290 
Davies, Arthur B., 220-221 
Davis, Charles H., 139-145, 146 
Dearth, Henry Golden, 260, 261, 

262 
DeCamp, Joseph, 171, 180 
Dessar, Louis Paul, 234, 238 
Detroit, Museum of Art, 108, 109, 

119, 123, 186, 235 
Dewey, Charles Melville, 121, 

130-131 
Dewing, Thomas W., 71, 178-180 
Dougherty, Paul, 242, 247-248 
Doughty, Thomas, 39, 41 
Duveneck, Frank, 99, 102-104, 179 
Eyre, Elizabeth, 280, 285-286 
Fort Worth, Texas, Public Li- 
brary, 32, 34, 49, 189, 194, 248 
Foster, Ben, 132, 134 
Fry, John Hemming, 280, 284-285 
Frieseke, Frederick Carl, 220, 
222-224 

Fuller, George, 71-73 
Gainsborough, Thomas, 26, 174 
Garber, Daniel, 234, 239 
Genth, Lillian, 213, 215-216 
Groll, Albert L., 213-214 
Harrison, Birge, 188, 197-198 
Harrison, Thomas Alexander, 

105-106 
Hassam, Childe, 171-177 
Hawthorne, Charles W., 203, 206- 

209 

305 



3«6 



INDEX 



Henri, Robert, 236, 260, 265-266, 

294 
Hill, Thomas, 39, 46-47 
Homer, Winslow, 64-70, 247 
Hopkins, James R., 234, 237-238 
Hovenden, Thomas, 99-100 
Hudson River School, 39, 55 
Hunt, William Morris, 39, 43-46 
Indianapolis, John Herron Insti- 
tute, 114, us, 124, 160, 191, 196 
Inness, George, 48-55, 56, 61, 129 
Inness, George, Jr., 132, 133 
Johnson, Eastman, 71, 73-74 
Keith, William, 56-59 
Koopman, Augustus, 242, 248-249 
Kroll, Albert Leon, 213, 218-219 
La Farge, John, 79-86 
Lathrop, William R., 132, 136 
Leigh, William R., 250-251 
Leutze, Emanuel, 39, 41-42, 73 
Lever, Harley, 242, 243-244 
Lie, Jonas, 213, 216-218 
Luks, George, 228, 229-230 
Macbeth Gallery, New York City 
62, 85, 128, 129, 133. 134. 135. 

142, 182, 184, 187. 199, 214, 221, 

224, 226, 238 
MacCameron, Robert, 220, 225- 

226 
McLean, Jean, 228, 233 
Marin, John, 292, 294-296 
Marr, Carl, 105, 109-111 
Martin, Homer D., 56, 59-60 
Melchers, Gari, 105, 107-109 
Metcalf, Willard L., 171, 181, 186- 

187 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 28, ' 
29, 39, 41. 42, 51, 59. 62, 68, 72, 
97, 101, 103, 104, 105, no, 113, 
118, 120, 137, 141, 154, 155, 163, 
165, 167, 177, 182, 205, 207, 210, 
220, 226, 235. 238, 239. 257, 260, 
262, 28x 
Miller, Richard E., 220, 224-225 
Millet, Frank Davis, 99, 101-102 
Millet, Jean-Franqois, 43-46, 220 
Milwaukee, Layton Art Gallery, 

54, 65, no 
Minneapolis, Institute of Art, 
109, 144, 189 



Mora, F. Luis, 220, 226-227 
Moran, Thomas, 39, 47 
Mosler, Henry, 99, 100-101 
Murphy, J. Francis, 21, 128-129 
Muskegon, Michigan, Gallery of 

Fine Arts, 91, 120 
New Orleans, Delgado Museum 

of Art, 198, 249, 264 
New York City (see Metropolitan 

Museum of Art) 
Norton, Clara Mamre, 260, 269 
Nourse, Elizabeth, 228, 230-231 
Ochtman, Leonard, 188, 194-195, 

245 
Parrish, Maxfield, 250, 257-259 
Peale, Charles Wilson, 21, 28-29 
Pearson, Joseph T., Jr., 270^272 
Pennell, Joseph, 90, 280 
Peterson, Jane, 270, 276-278 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Acad- 
emy of Fine Arts, 25, 37, 116, 
205, 270 
Philadelphia, Wilstach Gallery,' 

96 
Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, 

35, 68, 94, 153, 174. 184, 197 
Ranger, Henry W., 139, 145-149 
Ray, Man, 292, 299-300 
Redfield, Edward W., 188, 191-194 
Redd, Robert, 171; 181, 185-186 
Reynolds, Sir Joshua, 23, 26, 176 
Robinson, Theodore, ios 
Rochester, Memorial Art Gal- 
lery, 32, 215, 216, 225 
Rosen, Charles, 188, 198-199 
Rouland, Orlando, 280, 287-289 
Russell, Morgan, 292, 302-304 
„^-Ryder, Albert P., 79, 86-87 — 
Ryder, Chauncy, 188, 200-202 
St. Louis, City Art Museum, 50, 

73, 82, 128, 133 
Sacramento, California, Crocker 

Art Gallery, 46 
San Francisco, Institute of Art, 

58, 59 
Sargent, John Singer, 113, 157-163 
Schofield, W. Elmer, 188, 195- 197 
Seyffert, Leopold, 260, 267-269 
Simmons, Edward E., 171, 181, 187 
Sloan, John, 280, 281-282 



INDEX 



307 



Snedecor Gallery, New York 

City, 51, 68, 250 
Snell, Henry B., 242-243 
Speicher, Eugene, 234, 239-240 
Spencer, Robert, 234-236 
Stuart, Gilbert, 30-36 
Sully, Thomas, 30, 36-37 
Symons, Gardner, 188, 189-190 
Syracuse, Museum of Fine Arts, 

128, 141. 145. i77» 206, 233 
Tack, Augustus Vincent, 270, 272- 

273 
Tanner, Henry 0., 105, 111-112 
Tarbell, Edmund C., 171, 181, 182, 

184-185, 226, 269 
Texas (see Fort Worth) 
Thayer, Albert H., 99. 104 
Toledo, Museum of Art, 121, 126, 

149, 178, 197 
Trumbull, John, 21, 28-29, 39 
Tryon, Dwight William, 121, 123™ 

127, 171 
Turner, Helen M., 260, 262-265 

TWACHTMAN, JoHNH., 171, 172, l8l- 

182 
Ultra Modern Art, 292-304 



Van Lear, Alexander, 132, 135-136 
Vedder, Elihu, 71, 74-77 
Volk, Douglas, 150, 155-156 
Walker, Horatio, 132, 133-134 
Walter, Martha, 260, 266-267 
Washington, D. C., Corcoran Gal- 
lery of Art, 40, 48, 173, 196, 
197, 289 
Washington, D. C, National Gal- 
lery, 244 
Waugh, Frederick J., 242, 245-247 
Way, Thomas A., 96 
West, Benjamin, 22, 26 
Whistler, James Abbott McNeill, 

60, 88-98, 280 
Weir, J. Alden, 171, 177-178, 272 
Wiggins, Carleton, 121, 129-130 
Wiles, Irving R., 260-261 
Williams, Frederick Ballard, 213, 

214-215 
Worcester, Art Museum, 26, 33, 

45, 67, 125 
Wright, McDonald S., 292, 300-302 
Wyant, Alexander, 56, 59-62 
Yates, Cullen, 242, 244-245 
Zorach, William, 292, 298-299 



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